The former head of the Young Ivorian Patriots Charles Blé Goudé « reaches out to President Alassane Ouattara » to work for national reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire, he said in a text sent to the AFP on Saturday.
« I remain focused on the goal of rebuilding peace » in Côte d’Ivoire. « I always reach out to President Alassane Ouattara », said Mr. Blé Goudé in an « Address to the Ivorians » dated from The Hague in the Netherlands, after the New Year messages broadcast on Tuesday by the Head of State and his opponents Henri Konan Bédié and Guillaume Soro.
Charles Blé Goudé announced in June 2019 that he has long-term presidential ambitions, after the next election in October 2020.
He was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison on Monday by the Ivorian courts, while on parole in The Hague after his acquittal by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
While calling for a “dialogue” between the government and the opposition, Mr. Blé Goudé criticizes “a regime which crucifies the process of national reconciliation on the altar of its interests”.
He denounces « the arbitrary arrests of opponents, the ban on opposition meetings, expeditious justice » and « under orders » in Côte d’Ivoire.
The issue of national reconciliation remains central in Côte d’Ivoire, after the decade of political and military crisis of the 2000s which culminated in 2010-2011 with post-electoral violence that left 3,000 people dead.
Loyal to ex-president Laurent Gbgabo, Charles Blé Goudé was one of the main players in the rise in tension in Côte d’Ivoire, according to his detractors and international NGOs who have often described his youth movement as a militia patriots.
« Reconciliation is not an option, but an obligation », insists Mr. Blé Goudé, « the political weather (…) is not reassuring for the year 2020, electoral year, decisive year, sensitive year ».
Like the main Ivorian opposition movements, Mr. Blé Goudé calls for “the establishment of a truly independent electoral commission”, “an electoral division that meets international standards”, to “the revision of the electoral listing ”and“ free national identity card ”.
In his statement, he recalls his conviction “expeditious in less than a day of trial” by the Ivorian justice.
« Needless to say, for these same facts relating to the post-election period, I have already been tried and acquitted by the ICC, after five years of proceedings, » he notes.
This « judicial harassment » has « the sole purpose (only) of deviating from the political debate in my country, » he said.
He announced that he would « seize », without specifying the exact reasons or the nature of these referrals, « the African Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court ».