Côte d’Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo triumphantly welcomed in his native village

After ten years of absence, the child of the country finally arrived in Mama and was welcomed in a phenomenal jubilation.
No one believed in it anymore, so long was the wait. But Laurent Gbagbo finally arrived around 6pm in Mama. A triumphant and even chaotic welcome. Hundreds of inhabitants of Mama but also thousands of supporters from the surrounding villages had been waiting for the Ivorian president all day, with music, and often sitting around, sipping a beer or a glass of wine, in the many open-air bars that had swarmed the village for the occasion.
And it was only around 6pm that Laurent Gbagbo’s convoy arrived. The crowd immediately began to run behind his vehicle. The protocol devised by the organizers quickly shattered, the internal security service was quickly overwhelmed by the fervor of supporters of the president of the Ivorian Popular Front.
After a long moment of hesitation, Laurent Gbagbo was finally able to get out of his vehicle, but the politician did not make it to the grandstand, placed in the center of the Mama square, which had been set up for the occasion. The crowd of young people was almost uncontrollable. They wanted to touch, to approach, to photograph the child of the country of return after ten years of absence.
Laurent Gbagbo did not linger in the village square. The “Woody of Mama” returned to his nearby residence in a car. Despite this rapid departure, the inhabitants continued to celebrate him by dancing to the sound of djembes.
FPI emissaries described the day as “historic” and hailed the “resurrection” of the former president. Before arriving in Mama, Laurent Gbagbo got a taste of his popularity. He stopped several times on the road to greet the groups that had come to cheer him on. Then, in a more intimate moment, he also went to the village of Blouzon, not far from Mama, to pay his respects at the grave of his mother, who died in 2014 when he was in detention.
Next step for the 76-year-old, who no longer hides his political ambitions: a meeting, which should take place soon, with the other tenor of the opposition, his new ally, former president Henri Konan Bédié, 87, and leader of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network