Foreign Policy Digital

Peacebuilding’s Poster Child Is Losing Its Shine

Ivory Coast is often held up as a post-conflict success. That could all fall apart.

On the night of Ivory Coast’s local elections last fall, Lancinè Coulibaly was kidnapped. Coulibaly had been a campaign aide to Tehfour Koné, an opposition candidate running for mayor in Abobo, on one of the most closely contested ballots in the country. Hours later, he was found dead, lying in a pool of his own blood.

According to Koné, Coulibaly’s belief that the election results should be accurate had cost him his life. Koné had stood against Hamed Bakayoko, Ivory Coast’s defense minister and a well-established figure in the country’s ruling party, the Rally of the Republicans. After Bakayoko was declared the winner of the poll, Koné openly accused him of rigging the vote. Those responsible for organizing and executing Coulibaly’s death have yet to be held to account.

A slaying in Abobo was not the only sign of trouble in Ivory Coast. Last October’s municipal elections were marred by instances of violence and unrest across the country. In addition to Coulibaly, at least three other Ivorians were killed. In Abidjan, the economic capital, police repeatedly used tear gas to disperse supporters of the opposition. On the outskirts of the western town of Man, a gang overran a polling station, forcing the vote there to be annulled and rescheduled. Supporters of opposing parties clashed in the central town of Lakota, leaving

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