Laurent Gbagbo, former Ivorian president and opposition leader returns home today

Former Ivorian President and leader of the main opposition party, the Ivorian Popular Front is set to return to his home country today, after being declared innocent by the international criminal court for alleged crimes against humanity.

Local reports indicate that his successor, Alassane Ouattara has made provisions for his arrival in the country. The government is said to have made the presidential pavilion at the airport available to receive him. Other media outlets also revealed that the Ouattara administration has restored Gbagbo’s status as an ex-president in good standing. A decision which will allow him to enjoy all the rewards reserved for ex-presidents.

Gbagbo’s arrest followed a chaotic situation which occurred in the country after the 2010 election. The former President reportedly lost the election but claimed the process was marred with electoral fraud. His refusal to concede caused a civil war resulting in the death of about 3,000 people; an incident which triggered the involvement of the ICC.

The former President who was arrested alongside his party’s youth leader, Charles Blé Goudé and extradited, sought refuge in Belgian capital Brussels after the appeal court of the ICC Acquitted him of all charges leveled. 

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The news of the return of the 76-year-old has caused massive celebration in the Capital city Abidjan as his loyal followers are painting the city with party colors. Already, the release of Gbagbo back in 2019 was highly praised by these same enthusiasts who believed from the onset that he was innocent. 

The locals believe that Gbagbo has the magic wand to successfully unite the people. His successor, Alassane Ouattara has become unpopular after what a coalition of the opposition parties referred to as a breach of the constitution to bid for a third term. Ouattara who earlier declared a decision not to contest prior to the 2020 election made a dramatic U-Turn after his handpicked successor died. He later won the election by 94 percent of the vote.

Celebrations are still ongoing in Abidjan awaiting the arrival of Gbagbo who served his country for a period ranging from the year 2000 until his removal in 2010.

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