Congrats President Ouattara – Time to get to work!
Some say it’s pretty clear who the bad guy is in the Ivory Coast, but they are not sure if there is a good guy. Well, now we will see!
So congratulations to President Alassane Ouattara! I have pretty high hopes on Ouattara being a reasonably “good guy” even considering events in the west of the country.
Come on – don’t disappoint now!
Here’s what I expect from the Ouattara government:
Immediate Post-Conflict Issues:
- Prevent any lynchings against Gbagbo and his top brass, even though this is what a majority of the RHDP grassroots (and the population of Abobo) seem to want to do. I recently listened to a woman from Abobo on Abidjan.net voice chat who said that Gbagbo and Ble Goude shouldnt be put on trial, and instead she suggested that each woman in Abobo should be allowed to slap them.
- Put those who have ordered or committed atrocities against civilians on trial – or send them to the Hague.
- Allow an independent investigation of the massacres in the West and allow no special treatment for pro-Ouattara soldiers.
- Set up a truth and reconciliation committee, that also deals with crimes committed by ex-rebel forces.
- Stop and strongly discourage any reprisal attacks against Gbagbo supporters.
Longer Term Issues:
- Strengthen the rule of law.
- Make it easier to succeed in business without having friends and connections in the state apparatus.
- Respect freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and press freedom, and other basic civil liberties and political rights. I don’t want to see any journalists or opposition politicians put in jail because of expressing their opinions or exposing corruption.
- Make appointments to the state administration based on merit, not ethnicity. And not like Gbagbo nominate incompetent friends and mistresses to important jobs, and create a tribal-controlled state.
- While I still expect Ouattara’s Ivory Coast to have a high degree of corruption – at least don’t make it a total “our turn to eat” scenario. Keep some sort of accountability at the very top. I don’t want to see top cadres of the RDR party suddenly becoming extremely wealthy. Or well, they are most likely going to get wealthy, but there is a big difference between having a decent road and a hospital built and taking a cut, or just sending all the money to a bank account in Switzerland and not building a functioning road or hospital at all.
- Do something to start clearing out land and other property rights, something a la Amartya Sen maybe. At the moment it’s too much at the whim of the Minister in charge, and subject to a very slow-moving and capricious bureaucracy. Guess the whole strengthening institutions project comes in here, and that’s long and complex stuff, that I expect to at least be started.
- Make Ivory Coast a country that welcomes foreigners again – especially ECOWAS citizens that were, to put it mildly, badly treated by the Gbagbo regime. And how about dropping visa requirements for people from at least the developed world. Such visas bring in a bit of money, but are a huge net loss to the Ivory Coast in terms of lost investment, lost tourism and reduced international contacts.
- I want to see clear improvements for the Ivory Coast on the following international metrics:
- Freedom House’s Freedom in the World report gauging civil liberties and political rights
- World Bank’s Doing Business report measuring business regulations.
- Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index
- Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom
- Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index