Ivorian ex-first lady to seek ‘frank’ reconciliation


Former Ivory Coast’s first lady Simone Gbagbo has said her newly launched political party will focus on economic development and changing people’s lives.

It was necessary to address issues of reconciliation in a “frank manner” to allow people to heal, forgive and continue living together in peace, Mrs Gbagbo said.

“There was a war – a rift was created between people and you just need to sit people down,” the ex-first lady, who has cut personal and political links with her soon-to-be-ex-husband, former president Laurent Gbagbo, told the BBC Focus on Africa programme.

She said she had met people from different ethnic groups who were still holding grudges and it was necessary to address the issues “to allow victims to start working on healing their hearts in order to achieve forgiveness- a forgiveness that is real”.

Alongside her husband, she faced accusations of crimes against humanity committed during the country’s 2010-2011 post-election crisis following Mr Gbabgo’s refusal to step down from power.

She was jailed for seven years in Ivory Coast before being granted amnesty in 2018.

A pending arrest warrant against her by the International Criminal Court (ICC) was lifted last year. Mr Gbagbo, who filed for divorce from her, has also since been acquitted of charges.

Mrs Gbabgo said the reconciliation would also focus on the perpetrators “who have stolen, who have looted – so that they can give back what they have taken”.

READ ALSO:  Ivory Coast names new prime minister after death of premier

“There are still many Ivorians who are sitting on other people’s farmlands, it is necessary to provide a solution to this problem…” she said.

She added that her party will make alliances with others in due course as it’s “impossible to do politics without alliances”.

Mrs Gbabgo said she believes it was time for a woman to lead the country – though the presidential elections are not due until 2025.

“Why not – it could perhaps lead to a little more humanity in the running of the country,” she said.


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