It’s been 10 years since Cote d’Ivoire’s presidential elections; “… a whole lost generation since the days when Côte d’Ivoire was West Africa’s most prosperous and promising nation.” The last election cycle was postponed indefinitely by the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo (of the Front Populaire Ivorian) when his term ended in 2005. In the meantime he plunged the country into civil war (in 2002). The election will hopefully unify the country’s north and south–divided since the civil war. Expectations are that Gbagbo–who is in a three-way contest with former president Henri Konan Bedie and Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister–will be re-elected. Quite a cast of characters: Bedie invented of “Ivorite,” a xenophobic policy aimed at excluding immigrants or those from mixed backgrounds (with parents from Burkina Faso, Mali, etc) from political life. Gbagbo never denounced the policy (its cited as a contributing factor to the 2002 northern rebellion against his regime). Only “real Ivorians” were allowed to vote. Ouattara was excluded from running for president in 2000 because he was not considered a “real Ivorian.”

* Don’t expect too much in-depth reporting in English language media about the Ivorian elections. (The latter care more about the US midterms, later this week, and the second round of Brazil’s presidential elections, also today.) Best to regularly check sites like Global Voices or Follow the African Elections Project’s Cote d’Ivoire elections updates on Twitter. There’s also the English services of French language media like Radio France International. Finally a group of local web activists has set up a citizen reporting platform to monitor elections using the Ushahidi platform.

Credit: Cartoon by Le Monde’s Telex.

Further Reading

A power crisis

Andre De Ruyter, the former CEO of Eskom, has presented himself as a simple hero trying to save South Africa’s struggling power utility against corrupt forces. But this racially charged narrative is ultimately self-serving.

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.


After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?

Breaking the chains of indifference

The significance of ending the ongoing war in Sudan cannot be overstated, and represents more than just an end to violence. It provides a critical moment for the international community to follow the lead of the Sudanese people.

The magic man

Chris Blackwell’s long-awaited autobiography shows him as a romantic rogue; a risk taker whose life compass has been an open mind and gift to hear and see slightly into the future.

How to think about colonialism

Contemporary approaches to the legacy of colonialism tend to narrowly emphasize political agency as the solution to Africa’s problems. But agency is configured through historically particular relations of which we are not sole authors.

More than just a flag

South Africa’s apartheid flag has been declared hate speech by a top court. But while courts are important and their judgments matter, racism is a long and internationally entrenched social phenomenon that cannot be undone via judicial processes.

Resistance is a continuous endeavor

For more than 75 years, Palestinians have organized for a liberated future. Today, as resistance against Israeli apartheid intensifies, unity and revolutionary optimism has become the main infrastructure of struggle.

Paradise forgotten

While there is much to mourn about the passing of legendary American singer and actor Harry Belafonte, we should hold a place for his bold statement-album against apartheid South Africa.

The two Africas

In the latest controversies about race and ancient Egypt, both the warring ‘North Africans as white’ and ‘black Africans as Afrocentrists’ camps find refuge in the empty-yet-powerful discourse of precolonial excellence.