Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast – (African Boulevard News) – Simone Gbagbo, the former First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, requested “forgiveness” from the victims of several violent political crises, during a meeting in Bouaké (center) on Sunday. This comes a few months before the presidential elections, which is a significant event for the country’s stability and reconciliation.
Gbagbo made her pleas while addressing a group of supporters from the political party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI). She maintained her stance on the claims of her husband’s innocence and highlighted that he was a victim of a French conspiracy. However, she insisted that she was not seeking the forgiveness of those who saw her as a villain.
“I am asking for the forgiveness of the victims of the crisis, for those who were innocent victims, for the mothers, for the young people who died, for the women who were raped,” Gbagbo said.
The 2010 presidential elections in Ivory Coast turned out to be a bloody conflict between former president Laurent Gbagbo and his rival, Alassane Ouattara, which led to a civil war that claimed thousands of lives. Simone Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in the violence that followed the elections, which lasted for months.
The reconciliation and forgiveness process in Ivory Coast was triggered after former president Ouattara pardoned approximately 800 political prisoners in August 2021, who were imprisoned during the 2010-2011 post-election violence. The move was aimed at easing tensions and bringing political stability to the country.
Francois Patuel, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International, stated: “It is a significant step for Simone Gbagbo to apologize to the victims of the post-election violence in 2010 and to recognize their suffering.”
In conclusion, the act of asking for forgiveness can serve as a starting point for healing and the process of reconciliation. The olive branch extended by Simone Gbagbo is a gesture of hope for the victims and their families. It is left to be seen if this could help ease tensions as the country moves closer to the presidential elections, and a new chapter for the country’s political landscape.