August 1, 2021

Laurent Gbagbo back in Ivory Coast, his popularity intact

“The day when it will be light” so happened. For Désirée, Basile and Christophe, as for millions of other Ivorians, a new dawn broke over their country Thursday, April 17, shortly after 4:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. in Paris) when their sun stepped down. slow of the plane which brought him back from Brussels and trod the ground of Abidjan.

« It is impractical what is happening because Laurent Gbagbo is more than a person. With him we are one “, said the first, nicely dressed in a dress bearing the effigy of her champion. “They are the Ivorian people. It is in him that people recognize themselves ”, adds the second. “It is like Jesus of Nazareth entering Jerusalem triumphantly. Without him, we had no life. He is joy, peace, tolerance ”, concludes the third with a fervor touching devotion.

Their vision of politics held for ten years on a simple formula: “Gbagbo or nothing”. And now they all came back, justifying, according to them, this long wait and sweeping away all moderation. Moments of jubilation do not lend themselves to reason.

Read also Ivory Coast: Laurent Gbagbo will return without thirst for revenge, assure his supporters

As was to be expected, the program established before his return was shattered as soon as Laurent Gbagbo arrived. The former Ivorian head of state (2000-2010) did not stop at the flag of honor at the airport that the government had made available to him. He did not get out of his dark-glass vehicle to greet the executives of his party and the traditional leaders who had been waiting there for several hours.

His only appearance was brief: A greeting on the balcony of his former campaign headquarters in front of thousands of supporters in a trance, a few words to say to each other “Happy to find Côte d’Ivoire and Africa” and thanks to his loyal lieutenants who supported him during his absence.

Popularity intact

If he didn’t have “The triumphant welcome” hoped for by his activists, Laurent Gbagbo has however seen that his popularity remains intact. On the way back, which ended in the house of his second wife, Nady Bamba, there were still thousands of courageous people who had braved the tear gas and stun grenades since the morning. How many would they have been without this systematic dispersion? No one will ever know.

In Port-Bouët, a few hundred meters from the airport, as in other communes of Abidjan, everything was nevertheless ready to offer a human tide to the one that its militants still consider to be “The real president of the Ivorians”.

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