Panafrican News Agency

Côte d'Ivoire: Former president Gbagbo plans to return home in December

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (PANA - Former president of Côte d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo on Friday received two passports, one ordinary and one diplomatic from the  Ambassador Nogozene Bakayoko, Chief of Staff of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Abou Dosso, Ambassador of Côte d'Ivoire to Belgium, his lawyer, Maitre Habiba Touré, confirmed in a statement.

"Having now his passport, he plans to return to Côte d'Ivoire in December 2020, and has designated to this end, Minister Assoa Adou, Secretary-General of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), to approach the competent authorities to organize his return in tranquillity in accordance with his status as former President of the Republic," Touré said in the statement.

"As he stated during his last interview on October 29 on TV5 Monde, he does not have to negotiate what rightfully belongs to a citizen", said Touré. "Nevertheless, he welcomes the act that the Ivorian authorities have just taken what goes in the direction of appeasement".

"However, in light of recent events that have plunged Côte d'Ivoire into mourning, obtaining his passport is an epiphenomenon," she said, adding that Mr Gbagbo "bows before the memory of all those who died in the pre-and post-election crisis of 2020.

"He brings comfort to all those who are wounded in their souls and in their flesh. He asks the Ivorian authorities to take one more step towards relaxing the socio-political climate", said the lawyer, emphasising that "we cannot imprison political leaders because they have asserted their right to say no to a third unconstitutional mandate".

She reported that Mr Gbagbo again calls for the release of all political leaders and civil society unjustly imprisoned following the willingness of Mr Alassane Ouattara to run for a third term.

"The recent arrest of these people should not make us forget that for several years, MPs, soldiers and civilians are still languishing in Ivorian jails," she said, underlining that Mr Gbagbo notes with "satisfaction" the lifting of blockades on President Henri Konan Bédié and other opposition politicians.