News / Africa

    Ivory Coast Has New Cabinet, Security Challenges Remain

    Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara (C) poses with officials of his new government at the presidential palace in Abidjan, November 22, 2012.
    Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara (C) poses with officials of his new government at the presidential palace in Abidjan, November 22, 2012.
    Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara flexed his political muscles last week when he reshuffled his Cabinet, but analysts say the president's influence over the security sector of the government remains limited.  

    President Ouattara’s decision to dissolve the Cabinet on November 14 took many Ivorians by surprise.  The official explanation was that the president had grown frustrated with allied coalition parties during a dispute over changes to the country’s marriage law.

    But analysts said this dispute was merely a pretext.

    The original Cabinet was named in the aftermath of a six-month post-election conflict.  That crisis erupted after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to Ouattara in a November 2010 election.

    Some appointees were seen as compromises that Ouattara had to make to consolidate support in what remains a fragile political climate.

    Analysts say the president's new Cabinet is a streamlined version of the first one.

    Ouattara shifted some ministers into new posts and put others in control of multiple ministries. The minister of interior and the acting minister of defense remain the same.

    New Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan also serves as finance minister.  Duncan, like Ouattara, is an economist and is seen as a friend of the president.

    Duncan is not from the president's political party.  He is from the PDCI party, the same one as the former prime minister.  His appointment preserves what some analysts say had become a shaky ruling coalition.

    Samir Gadio, an emerging markets strategist at Standard Bank Plc., says the president is asserting his authority.

    "It's not as if we had a major shift in the composition of the Cabinet," he said. "You have to look at that as some sort of reshaping of the government rather than a significant shift away from what we had previously.  To me, he’s made his point, which is that he is in charge and he will impose the policy directions that he feels necessary going forward."

    Analysts say on the policy front, Ouattara has made significant headway in rebuilding the economy, but he can't afford to stop there.

    The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report this week that stalled reforms to what it called a "highly disorganized" security sector and a lack of reconciliation with Gbagbo allies remain major threats.

    The new national army, called the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast, has taken the lead on security matters since the conflict ended 18 months ago.

    The army is composed mainly of former members of the New Forces rebel group, which controlled northern Ivory Coast from 2002 to 2010 and staged the 2011 offensive that ousted former president Gbagbo and brought Ouattara to power.

    Human rights groups have accused those soldiers of widespread rights abuses.

    Rinaldo Depagne, senior West Africa analyst for ICG, says the army has sidelined police and the gendarmes who are largely seen to be pro-Gbagbo.  He says Ouattara has limited control over the security sector.

    "It’s difficult for him not to give back something.  And it’s very difficult for him to not have total control of a large chunk of the army coming from the former rebellion," said Depagne. "He has to give them some kind of freedom - not to do what they want, but to be in charge of things that normally they shouldn’t be in charge of."

    The International Crisis Group says President Ouattara faces "fierce resistance" from Gbagbo allies, many of whom are in exile in Liberia and Ghana.

    Ouattara’s government has blamed them for a wave of recent attacks on military positions in Ivory Coast.

    Depagne said it is difficult to see how President Ouattara can put an immediate stop to this.  He said Ghana’s government needs to do more.

    "The situation between the two countries is a little bit dangerous.  Ghana should do more and should not accept people plotting or preparing military plans to destabilize Cote d’Ivoire.  Ghana should not accept this on its soil," said Depagne.

    The ICG report urges President Ouattara’s government to open up dialogue with moderate Gbagbo supporters to promote reconciliation and increase cooperation between various factions in the security sector.  It says otherwise, the government risks repeating mistakes of past governments that could spin the country back into crisis.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora