Tension in Ivory Coast as opposition plans civil disobedience campaign
Three opposition delegates have suspended their membership of Cote d’Ivoire’s National Electoral Commission ahead of the country’s 31st October presidential election overshadowed by President Alassane Outtara’s controversial third term plan.
The AFD and LMP representatives has written to the Electoral Commission Chair, suspending their membership and demanding reforms at the Commission, and the Constitutional Court, which has disqualified 40 presidential candidates from the October poll.
The two political parties belong to the opposition Coalition supporting former President Henri Konan Bedie, a candidate in the presidential vote, who has called for a civil disobedience campaign against the disqualification of opposition leaders and Ouattara’s third term agenda.
From a list of 44 presidential candidates, the Ivorian Constitutional Court approved only four, including Ouattara and Bedie, excluding key opposition leaders such as former President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader and Prime Minister Guallime Soro.
The Ivorian government has also rejected a ruling by the African Court on Human and Peoples Right calling for both men to be allowed to contest.
Ouattara’s plan to run for a third term, claiming he has the backing of the country’s 2016 amended Constitution has caused tension and the killing of more than 10 persons during protests.
A ban on public demonstrations in the country has ended but opposition groups are planning campaign of civil disobedience against the Ouattara government.
Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, UN Secretary General’s Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), met with Ivorian stakeholders recently and called for a peaceful and inclusive election and respect for human rights.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, speaking during a recent ECOWAS summit, also called on his colleagues to respect constitutional term limits.
“It is important that as leaders of our individual member States of ECOWAS, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region,” he warned.