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Henri Konan Bédié, former president of Côte d'Ivoire, ready to represent in 2020 "if the party asks me"
Former Ivorian President Henri Konan Bédié in Abidjan in February 2015. AFP

This is not a formal candidacy statement, but at age 85, and 86 years old when will take place from the Presidential Expectation in October 2020, Henri Konan Bédoine did not bury his ambition to return to Ivory Coast's orders. In an interview with World Africa, Thursday 1st August, the former head of the Ivorian state (1993-1999), currently in Paris, plans to present himself to the supreme magistracy … if the militants of the Democratic Party of Cote dâ € ™ à ¢ â,¬â "¢ € ™ Ivoire (PDCI) solicit it.

Read also Côte d 'Ivoire: rapprochement between ex-presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bà © dà © dà © dà ©

In a break with President Alassane Ouattara, with whom he had made an alliance between 2005 and 2018, "Sphinx of Daoukro" went on Monday to meet Laurent Gbagbo in Brussels with whom he is trying to operate a political rapprochement. In Cote d 'Ivoire, alliances are made and defeated, but always around the same actors.

Meet the eldest but not the least virulent of them. A man who was in the mid-1990s the promoter of Ivorite, a concept close to the national preference, which allowed to remove Alassane Ouattara from the race to the presidency and contributed to the political crisis of the 2000s. Today, Henri Konan Bédié regrets nothing and repeats the themes that he had a time left behind.

You are 85 years old today. What still drives your political commitment?

Henri Konan Bédy I think that when you are a politician, you do not belong, you belong to the community whose destiny you manage. I am president of the PDCI-RDA. This party survived all the trials and still lives. Therefore, as long as I have the physical and intellectual strength, I continue the work.

What are your intentions for the presidential election of October 2020?

Any militant intent must be reasonable and subject to the party's governing bodies. It's the PDCI that designates the candidate. In the tradition of the PDCI, we do not solicit, it is the militants who do it. The party will decide between October and the first half of 2020.

Your party will vote in a few months but, in your heart, would you like to run for the Presidency of the Republic?

If I am asked, I am a man of service, a man who has followed a tradition of self-giving, but we are not there yet.

You will be 86 at the time of the next election. Is it still an age to run for the Presidency of the Republic?

I am a youngster among others. In Africa, there are older presidents than me and if you look at the scale of the world, they are even more numerous. The leader of Malaysia is over 90 years old. As long as we have the intellectual and physical resources, I think there is no age to run a country.

Are you worried about the 2020 deadline?

We have serious apprehensions considering what happened during the municipal and regional elections (in October 2018) where there were men dead (at least 5) and too much violence on the part of those who are in power now. The temptation of cheating is such that one can fear calamitous elections.

On Monday, you met Laurent Gbagbo in Brussels. Which man did you find?

I found in Laurent Gbagbo the fighter I've always known. He is healthy and I think he still has plans for the future.

In the past, both of you have had very hard words to each other. Is everything forgotten today?

Life has to be done. We can not always bow on the past. I was in power and he was in opposition, then he was in power while I was in exile in Paris, so our exchanges could not be honeyed. Today, things have changed, we are no longer in power and therefore all the reasons are fulfilled so that, according to the Ivorian tradition, we change, sympathy.

Could you give us some information about your head-to-head?

This is not yet the moment, but know that we decided to start working together in the field.

You wish today that your two parties go allied to the election of 2020 but in what formula?

We have not talked about this but we believe that, in the perspective of 2020, each party must have a candidate and in case of a second round the others will rank behind the best. Itâ € ™ s the right formula when there are several parties to present themselves.

What do you say to those who think that your rapprochement with Mr. Gbagbo as your current denunciation of the regime is purely opportunistic?

What I am saying relates to realities lived in Côte d'Ivoire. In the past, I was not in opposition and, in a covenant, we are forced to do certain things. However, all these problems that threaten the lives of Ivorians today were not so obvious when I was in the alliance [avec le pouvoir en place].

What do you think are the most serious dangers facing your country?

The massive invasion of Côte d'Ivoire by so-called armed miners, massive fraud on Ivorian nationality on which the government does not lead any investigation to stop the phenomenon no, the refusal to reform the Independent Electoral Commission so that it is impartial, autonomous and has a police force to apply its decisions.

You consider that, through the gold panning, the residence of Alassane Ouattara allows a colonization of Côte d 'Ivoire by nationals of the region?

Côte d'Ivoire is undergoing a massive, uncontrolled invasion of people from the surrounding countries. The government is doing nothing to stop this. These problems caused by gold panning are spread all over the territory and benefit from local compli- cations. In Ouagadougou, President Ouattara acknowledged Thursday that gold panning is a real problem for our country.

When you say in June that it will be necessary to act "to prevent a hold-up on Côte d 'Ivoire" or even that "we must react that the Ivorians do not be strangers at home ", Do not you risk setting fire to the powder?

Why do you want this to ignite the powder? We did not say that to exclude anyone. We do it so that those who want to live in Côte d 'Ivoire and even take Ivorian nationality do this by following the procedures. I was the head of the Ivorian state who naturalized the most foreigners, especially Burkinabe and Malian. But it is better to talk about what is happening in the country. The native population agrees with what I say. It is if we do not talk about it that there could be a day a reaction against these foreigners.

Read also Election of Miss Côte d'Ivoire 2019: a revolutionary revealing identity tensions

You are not afraid that your remarks will awaken the old demons of the division appeared with the ivoirità ©?

The best is already to take charge of the current debt that reigns around Ivorians. Why would this mass immigration, uncontrolled, armed, threaten the safety of Ivorians without being able to say anything? In what way is Ivority a disgrace? You do not speak French? Dâ € ™ arabità ©? Dâ € ™american way of life ? Which country does not have an identity? Let's leave this debate of bad faith that does not prosper anymore. For a while, emotional notions have been used in terms of xenophobia, hatred of foreigners. It no longer takes Côte d'Ivoire. Ivorians are mature.

A number of important PDCI executives have turned their backs on you to join Alassane Ouattara's training. Are not you politically weakened?

The PDCI, since its creation in 1946, has seen many departures and betrayals. In colonial times, there was already the group of allied parties to the colonial power that stood out as "… Â progressive. " Later, outside the Ivorian Popular Front, all the parties that emerged with the arrival of the multiparty system come from the PDCI. The departure of some elements can not therefore worry us. For ten who leave, we have 10,000 who enter.

Did you draw a line on the coup d'etat of December 24, 1999 that drove you out of power?

Yes of course, for a long time.

Who were the sponsors?

The leaders know each other and I know them too. I forgave them and give them time to apologize to the nation. They have personally asked me for forgiveness. It will be up to them to do this publicly during the National Reconciliation sessions we want to organize if we win the elections.

Read also In Côte d'Ivoire, political divisions worry

Since the mid-1990s, Cote d 'Ivoire has experienced violent crises. Do you have any regrets?

I do not regret anything except what I could not do. I do not have blood on my hands. Among the leaders of CÃ'te d 'Ivoire and even in the world, I am one of the few who have not shed the blood of others. I do not have blood on my hands. I am not rich. I did not "serve" when I was in power. I am at peace with my conscience.

Is the break with President Ouattara definitive?

With his party yes, but we are still talking to each other, between men. Moreover, he still considers me as the head of his family, which means that we do not have personal inimits.

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