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Gbagbo “happy to be back to Cote d’Ivoire, Africa”

The former Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, said Thursday he was “happy to return to Cote d'Ivoire and Africa” in a…

The former Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, said Thursday he was “happy to return to Cote d’Ivoire and Africa” in a speech at the headquarters of his party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI, opposition) in Cocody-Attoban, in the east of Abidjan.After being acquitted, “I am happy to be back to Cote d’Ivoire and Africa. I am from somewhere, I am from Cote d’Ivoire, but I learned in prison that I am from Africa,” Gbagbo said, in front of hundreds of supporters.

“The whole of Africa supported me, both the people and most heads of state, heads of state helped me to stand firm, the people helped me to stand up,” said Gbagbo, who particularly welcomed the mobilization of Ivorians.

He added that he arrived in his country “with tears in his eyes,” as he was not there when his mother left him for the afterlife, recounting that after his arrest, she fled to Ghana, before returning to Cote d’Ivoire to breathe her last “when she knew that her end was near.”

“I was not there to honor her one last time, even though she made me. Without her, I would not be a doctor of history today, I would not have become President of the Republic,” he said, admitting that this made him “very sad.”

In this context, Gbagbo asked “a friend and brother, Abdourahmane Sangaré,” a pillar of the party, to organize his mother’s funeral, but unfortunately, Sanghare too died without even waiting for him to come back, so that he could tell him “thank you.”

“I came, I would ask the secretary general to give me a few days to mourn my dead and then after that I would come to put myself at the disposal of the party,” he said, hailing the fact that his party has a parliamentary group.

Commenting on the number of MPs close to his party, the former Ivorian president noted that since his political party has been going to the legislative elections, without being in power, it is the largest number of MPs obtained.

“I congratulate you, dear comrades, I thank you. We had 100 MPs in 2000, but I was president. Here (in Cote d’Ivoire), the people, for the legislative elections are legitimist, they vote for the president of the Republic,” he went on.

For him, his relatives “have led a great battle,” while congratulating them. He declared himself to be “the soldier” of the party, saying he was “mobilized.”  He also paid tribute to relatives, including economics professor Ake Ngbo.  

Mr. Gbagbo returned to Abidjan on Thursday after ten years of absence. He was finally acquitted by the International Criminal Court on 31 March 2021 in the case of crimes against humanity committed during the 2010-2011 post-election violence in Cote d’Ivoire.

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