News / Africa

Ivorian Voters in Rebel-Held Areas Prepare for Sunday's Election

A UN vehicule passes billboards for the presidential electoral campaign on a moped in Bouake, 27 Oct 2010
A UN vehicule passes billboards for the presidential electoral campaign on a moped in Bouake, 27 Oct 2010

Sunday's presidential vote in Ivory Coast is meant to reunite the country eight years after a brief civil war. Former rebels who still control areas in the north say they will keep most of their forces in barracks during the vote.

At first, it is subtle difference driving between the government-controlled south and northern areas still run by former fighters. The soldiers' uniforms do not quite match. There are more people with guns just hanging around; more checkpoints and more questions about what you are carrying.

Commercial trucks driving this main road north from Abidjan pay regular fees to pass in and out of rebel-held areas. The World Bank estimates the forces in control here earn at least $300 million a year from these checkpoints.

But it is not just the trucks. Cars too get closer inspection in the north. "What do you have for me?" a young rebel asks leaning in the window. "A soda? Water? Something else?"

The perceived ethnic inequalities that sparked the conflict in 2002 still exist in Ivory Coast. And they are not hard to find in the last week of campaigning.

Northern rebels started the war because they said southern politicians were neglecting the region. Former prime minister Alassane Ouattara was previously disqualified as a candidate because of questions about his nationality in a part of the country where many people are decedents of migrant workers from Mali and Burkina Faso.

Ouattara is a candidate in this vote and says he is running to reunite the country.

Ouattara says he has a message of peace in this election, which he says is especially important in areas that have known the difficulties of conflict. He says he has a solution for a population in crisis and hopes that this election allows him to put his program in action.

The question of Ivorian identity came to a head in February when President Laurent Gbagbo dissolved his government and dismissed the electoral commission saying that more than 400,000 people were illegally registered to vote.

President Gbagbo eventually agreed to a new voter list. But he has kept up the issue on the campaign trail, saying that of the major candidates in this election he is the only true Ivorian.

The president says there is one Ivorian in this race and three impostors. The others are foreign impostors, he says, and he does not want his country to be governed by foreigners.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid