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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid