We will replicate Rwanda’s model - Ivorian PM
The Ivorian Prime Minister and Defence minister Guillame Kigbafari Soro last week visited the Mutobo Demobilisation and Reintegration camp in the Northern Province as part of his tour to draw lessons in his country’s reconstruction process. During the visit, Soro said that having undergone one of the worst tragedies ever, Rwanda was in a strong position to offer Ivory Coast lessons on reconstruction, re-building institutions and building a strong military.
Soro compared Ivory Coast’s past experiences to those of Rwanda acknowledging that the situation that recently encumbered his country was negligible compared to Rwanda’s 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. “In this country [Rwanda], citizens of the same country killed each other. It was the same thing in Ivory Coast. The war spread because those perceived to be foreigners had no other choice but to exercise the right to live in their country. Similarly, this is what happened here,” he observed.
The PM compared his country’s recent troubled past through a football match allegory. “As Africans, we consider elections to be a competition, as a dry football game. When you play football game you will win or lose. But we do not start war simply because we lost a football game. We should not wage war because we lost elections.” Soro said as he alluded to the country’s former president Laurent Gbagbo who following the 2010 presidential election, challenged the vote count, alleged fraud, and refused to stand down.
He called for the annulment of results from nine of the country’s regions. Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner and was recognised as such by election observers, the international community, the African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States. After a short period of civil conflict, Gbagbo was arrested by the Republican Army of Ivory Coast. Soro said his delegation was impressed by the Rwandan model at the Mutobo Demobilisation and Reintegration camp.
“We will continue to maintain our contacts with the Rwandan authorities. We will invite the head of this centre [Mutobo], to exchange experiences...” Soro said. He said his country would reproduce the rich lessons learnt in the reconstruction process. “I leave with much enriched lessons you have given us. Through the inspiration of your experience, we will try to build a united country. You have sung a song of unity.
“We shall replicate the same in Ivory Coast, build unity and forgive one another in the interest of the country, to ensure that all Ivorians whether in the North, South East and West we feel as Ivorian people moving in the same direction,” said Soro.