Thu, 06 Jan 2000

The coup in Ivory Coast

Like a fruit in a state of already quite advanced decomposition, Henri Konan Bedie's regime fell without anyone lifting a finger to rescue it: neither in Abidjan nor anywhere else in Africa, and even less in Paris. (He) fell under the weight of corruption, which reigned in his family and the people around him. He was, and had been for several months already, abandoned by international fund lenders who were revolted with the amount of aid to the Ivory Coast that was being misappropriated.

Mr. Bedie was not much more careful in politics: he hadn't hesitated to play with the highly inflammable theme of "Ivoryness".

In a country with more than 60 ethnic groups, the use of (national identity) was to remove the former prime minister, a Northern Muslim, Alassane Ouattara, from the coming presidential campaign because of his so-called "Burkinian" origins. Mr. Bedie was in no way a worthy successor of Houphouet-Boigny, with the exception of their common tendency to sumptuous personal spending.

-- Le Monde, Paris