Abidjan August 16, 2018
The Ivory Coast has just celebrated 58 years of independence. What is the current economic, social and political situation? Faced with this situation, what are the tasks that are imposed on the people?
At the economic and social level, the current situation of the Ivory Coast is presented by the Ouattara government as most satisfactory. The traditional speech to the nation, August 6, 2018, the eve of independence day, was an opportunity once again for this government to show off the achievements which he carried out that would have placed our country among the most prosperous in the world: an average growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of 9% since 2012, massive investment in infrastructure, a substantial increase in the incomes of peasants, public and private sector workers, the creation of millions of jobs for young people, adequate access to health and education services, sufficient supply of electricity and water, strengthening of the rule of law and of the institutions of the republic, etc. But any attentive observer of economic and social life knows that the popular classes, the workers, peasants, small traders, small transporters, artisans, the vast majority of young people, live in a misery that only worsens year by year. The inflation of the prices of essential goods and services, the general increase in taxes, the drastic fall in the price of sales of agricultural products by the peasants, the displacement without relocation of the small traders and artisans along the roads, precarious markets and housing, long-term unemployment, which is particularly prevalent among the youth, difficult access to health care, exorbitant school costs, severe water shortages in almost all the big towns, put the lie to the assertions of the government on social performance. To these evils must be added the constant attacks on the population by hordes of bandits in the towns and country. In view of the social reality experienced by the vast majority of Ivoirians, one can see that the stated growth only benefits a minority of individuals at the top of the state. This minority loots the financial resources by various means: over-billing of government contracts, awarding of kick-back contracts, infrastructure works carried out below technical standards, particularly road and bridge works. In summary, it can be said that the social crisis is profound; the self-satisfaction of Ouattara’s government about economic and social performance shows his desire to disguise reality in order to deceive the masses and to satisfy his masters.
Politically, the situation is gloomy. When a tiny minority of individuals monopolize almost all the wealth produced, this social stratum is organized to suppress any hint of social and political struggles by all means. Thus, the Ouattara government uses repression as the only solution to social and political demands. The attacks on liberties and the arrests of opponents accused of destabilizing the state without evidence are established as methods of government. The creation in 2016 of an autocratic constitution which enshrines the submission of all institutions to the executive and which makes the President of the Republic a monarch, the maintenance of an illegal and illegitimate Electoral Commission, is preparing for the organization of a massive electoral fraud that would give victory to the Ouattara clan in 2020, if we are not careful.
These facts clearly show that the people are living under a political and economic system that has exhausted its ability to maintain the labor force of the producers of wealth, a system in which the ruling class, in order to maintain itself in power, is forced to resort to repression.
Faced with this situation, the heads of the political parties are organized to win or retain political power. The state of the political forces at present is as follows:
At the head of the state, the Union of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), the political group that holds power, is going through a deep crisis. The Union of Republicans (RDR), the leading party of this group, considers that to maintain “peace” in the Ivory Coast, it is necessary and indispensable that it remain in power in 2020. It does not intend to “pass” the power to its ally the PDCI-RDA [Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast – African Democratic Union] of Henri Konan Bédié, nor does it allow the clan of the former rebels, members of the RDR, to wrest the government from the old guard. On the basis of these contradictions, yesterday’s allies are tearing each other apart and agreeing on nothing. The PDCI and the ex-rebels are exposing in juicy behind-the-scenes details of the reactionary administration of the government with which they have been associated since 2011. Thus there is a divorce between the two main trends in the RHDP, as seen by the declaration of the PDCI on August 10 2018 which stipulates that it is withdrawing from the coalition of Houphouetists and “that it reserves the right to promote a platform of collaboration with the Ivoirians who share its vision of a reconciled Ivory Coast tat is conscious of its rights, liberties and the well-being of its people.”
There is also a divorce brewing with the former rebels; the liberation of Kamagaté Souleymane, chief of protocol of Soro Guillaume, did not mitigate their attacks against the Ouattara government.
Ouattara, under internal popular pressure and external pressures from its masters, decided on August 6, 2018, to release political prisoners by his order and promised to reform the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). These decisions are only retreats in order to better prepare his candidacy for a third term, which is his main objective. Through these acts he is trying to present himself to the people as the champion of national reconciliation, of the organization of transparent elections, of the handover of power to young people. He is also trying to regain the confidence of his imperialist masters, who are worried about the dangers to their investments in an Ivory Coast on the verge of chaos.
The imperialist powers seem to be turning away from the Ouattara government as well. They are denouncing his whole administration that they inspired and supported. A confidential report of the EU, revealed as if by chance as the RHDP is falling apart, exposes this government. It is a missile that has not missed its target. It contributes to weakening the current government. The revelations contained in this report confirm what the patriots, democrats and revolutionaries have always said, namely that the anti-liberty, anti-democratic, anti-social, clan-based administration of Ouattara’s government is pushing the Ivory Coast into the abyss.
The opposition political parties, which have, moreover, organized the struggles against the autocratic constitution of 2016, the illegal and illegitimate IEC in 2017 and 2018, are also mobilizing in various fronts to take state power in 2020.
The popular masses, for their part, are continuing to fight for better wages and incomes, for better living and working conditions, against corruption and anti-social policies, for freedoms and democracy.
All indications are that the Ivory Coast is experiencing a serious political and social crisis. Those at the top are in crisis. The opposition is intensifying its denunciations of the neocolonial regime. Because of Ouattara’s anti-social and repressive policies, discontent is spreading and winning over more and more popular strata. The current situation can lead to three possible outcomes: (1) A reactionary war or a coup d’état. This outcome, which would put forward ”messiahs,” supposedly to save the Ivory Coast, was tried in the Ivory Coast in 1999. It strengthened the state of lawlessness and fostered the reactionary war of 2002. Wherever this has taken place in the world, it has reinforced social misery and aggravated imperialist domination. It is against the interests of the people. (2) The victory of the Ouattara clan. This outcome would mean the continuance of current policies, an aggravation of imperialist domination, mismanagement, the revoking of freedom and democracy, a worsening of social misery. This is an outcome unfavorable to the interests of the people. (3) The victory of the peoples. It is that of the democrats, the revolutionaries, the progressive political parties, that of the rupture with the neocolonial system, that of the power of the people. This is the most favorable outcome for the interests of the people.
What are the tasks of the popular masses to defeat the two unfavorable outcomes for the peoples?
The peoples who are robbed of the fruits of their labor, the patriots, democrats and revolutionaries, the political parties of democratic and revolutionary opposition that are repressed and suffer from the state of lawlessness, all agree that it is necessary to get out of the chaos that is looming on the horizon. The strategic objective of the fight is determined. It is a question of winning the power by the people and for the people, in order to build a new Ivory Coast, free from the domination of the outside powers, particularly France, from the predators and exploiters. An Ivory Coast where respect for collective and individual freedoms, the principles of democracy, the establishment of popular control are the basis of the unity of the peoples and the motive force of economic, social and cultural development. The target of the fight is thus determined, it is the Ouattara government and its imperialist masters who are conducting a policy that is at odds with the aspirations of the popular masses. The condition of victory in this fight is the union of the patriotic sons and daughters, that is, the union of those who agree to take our country out of imperialist domination and the state of lawlessness.
To do this, the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast calls on opposition political parties and organizations, workers’ organizations, human rights NGOs, and patriotic personalities to form a broad front of struggle on the following platform:
– No to a coup d’état. The peoples have gone through this painful experience in 1999 and must strongly oppose it. The Ivory Coast does not need a “messiah” but a government obtained by people’s energy for the people
– No to the candidacy of Alassane Ouattara. The present constitution forbids this; his declarations oblige him to respect his given word. The people must mobilize now to oppose this abuse of authority
– The total reform of the IEC and the reorganization of all the instruments of organization of the elections (list of electors, electoral division, financing of political parties, etc.). The peoples must participate tirelessly in this fight to prevent the Ouattara government from stealing an electoral victory
– The withdrawal of the French army in order to prevent its intervention in the electoral process as it did in 2010-2011
– The release of all the victims of imperialist military aggression against our country, including the release of Gbagbo Laurent and Blé Goudé.
– Freedom of opinion, demonstration, strike, social well-being, security.
Forward for an independent, democratic and modern Ivory Coast!