Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria: Army denies reports of missing soldiers after Boko Haram attacks

Read more

FOCUS

Despite economic blockade and corruption scandals, Qatar prepares for its 2022 World Cup

Read more

ENCORE!

Beatmaker & singer Estère brings her musical melting pot to Afropunk Paris

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Iran water shortages, street art in Yemen, and more

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Maltese foreign minister: ‘We need to implement legal paths of migration into Europe’

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

FIFA takes home revenue of over €5 billion from World Cup

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Les Bleus 2018: The new 'tsars' of world football

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Eurogroup chief Centeno: ‘We need to an end what seems to be a trade war’

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump rocks the boat in UK

Read more

Africa

'God has given us victory', Gbagbo's wife tells rally

Video by Johan BODIN , Matthieu MABIN , Nicolas GERMAIN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-01-17

Increasingly isolated internationally, Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo counts on the support of his influential, Bible-wielding wife Simone to rally followers at home.

In a show of strength and defiance, Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo’s allies organised a rally on Saturday in Abidjan that drew around 4,000 supporters. Weeks after the international community, including African neighbours, recognized rival Alassane Ouattara as the winner of November 28 presidential run-off, Gbagbo continues to resist pressure to cede power.

Increasingly isolated internationally, Gbagbo is stirring up his support base at home. And Gbagbo’s influential wife Simone is an important actor on this battlefront. In Saturday’s rally she was the main attraction and did not hesitate to rail against Ouattara and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whom she now regularly calls “the devil”.

Gbagbo's wife is said to have much sway over her embattled husband and his supporters. And her power of persuasion was palpable at the rally. "The time for debates over the election between Gbagbo and the bandit chief [Oattara] is over," she said. "Our president [Gbagbo] has been vigorously placed in power and he is working.”

Simone Gbagbo is an evangelical Christian and references to God fill her colourful speeches. Saturday’s address was no exception.

“God is leading our fight,” “God has already given us victory,” and “God is with the people, God chose Gbagbo” were just a few of the remarks heard at the rally in Abidjan.

During the event a UN helicopter flew above the area several times, but Simone and others in Gbagbo’s entourage seemed unimpressed. To them, the UN soldiers are no longer a peacekeeping force.

“[The UN] transports the rebels. It organizes them. The UN radio has become the rebels’ radio,” said Charles Ble Goude, leader of the pro-Gbagbo youth movemet.

Simone's husband may not be recognised by the international community, but he still controls the state and the army in Ivory Coast.

Date created : 2011-01-16

  • IVORY COAST

    Toll in Ivory Coast violence reaches 247 dead, 49 missing, says UN

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    EU moves to freeze European assets of Gbagbo and allies

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    Ouattara reiterates calls for Gbagbo's removal by force

    Read more

COMMENT(S)