Laurent Gbagbo back in Ivory Coast, before going back to politics?

The return home was more than expected by millions of Ivorian people, still fully supportive of Laurent Gbagbo after a few years spent in Europe (the Netherlands, Belgium) to attempt (successfully) to prove his innocence in the aftermath of the crisis 2010-2011. Acquitted by the court of appeal of the International Criminal Court on March 31, the former president of Ivory Coast (2000-2010) was thus dismissed of war crime and crime against humanity charges, a crisis that caused 3000 casualties in Ivory Coast at the time.

Now free, the question was still being raised about a potential return of Gbagbo in Ivory Coast, even though suspense was lacking. Of course, he would come back. For his supporters, the dream became reality a few days ago, on June 17, when Laurent Gbagbo made his official comeback in Abidjan, ten years later. Supporters elated, but this return is not going to make everybody happy, starting with the current president Alassane Ouattara.

If the latter officially gave his agreement for the return of Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast, the fact to get a potential rival in the political arena will be one more trouble in a country that already suffered the loss of two prime ministers over the last two years. It is not about democracy, that should always prevail, and people should always have the choice between different candidates: given the fact that the last opposition between the two politicians triggered off a civil war, it is legitimate to ask whether peace and stability will remain after such a comeback, in a country which is still incredibly involved in politics. Sometimes too much.

After Abidjan, the comeback tour continued in Mama, the native village of the ex-president, where the inhabitants welcomed him as a hero. Promising to give news shortly, Gbagbo is now raising hopes (and fears) in the country. At 76 years old, is he going to make it politics again?


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