Cote D’Ivoire: Renowned Artiste Meiway Blasts Ouatarra as Chaos Greets his Announcement to Seek Controversial Third Mandate

Meiway, by his real name For Frederic, is an Ivorian artiste well-known for playing good music that attracted for him a huge following among the youths of not only Côte d’Ivoire, but Black Africa as a whole. His debut album: 100% Zoblazo released in the early 90s took him to the top of the charts and he has stayed there all these years.

Meiway is in the news today not for music, he is hitting the headlines talking against an announcement by Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire to seek a controversial third mandate. The decision influenced by the ruling RHDP Party was announced by Ouattara himself in a televised address Thursday August 6.

Hundreds of youths across Abidjan, the nation’s capital greeted the decision with street demonstrations to register their disapproval. The youths erected roadblocks here and there noting that the move was against the Constitution which barred the two-term president from seeking re-election.

Reacting to Mr. Ouattara’s decision to run again at the October 31, 2020 polls, Artiste Meiway has circulated an almost 4-minute long address to the President, expressing his disappointment to what he considered a slap in the face of the Ivorian nascent democracy.

President Alassane Dramane Ouattara returns to his vomit, seeks controversial third mandate that could plunge the country again into civil war (C) RFI

Meiway says: “I have just followed your televised address confirming your decision to seek another mandate at the upcoming Presidential Election, contrary to engagements you took solemnly before the people of Côte d’Ivoire. My entire life as an artiste, in the name of my loyalty, I militated for the people, I stood for the weakest ones in our community, I sacrificed  the most part of my career fighting for peace, love, unity and prosperity in my country. Consequently, my outing is momentous, especially as the times are rough”.

The initiator of the Zoblazo musical genre warns Mr. Ouattara that fearmongering does not foster nation-building. He condemns the move by the President forcing some Ivorians into exile and imprisoning all his political opponents or anyone that disagrees with him.  

“By succumbing to the temptation of political eternity, you risk driving Cote d’Ivoire into chaos, a situation we thought belonged to the past. Would you sacrifice all what you have built to choose the wrong side of the history of our country? Would you fall without resisting into the tragic destiny of African heads of state obsessed with power?”, the artiste worries.

Ivorian Youths Barricade roads in Abidjan to protest Ouattara's third term ambition

Meiway, however, thinks President Ouattara still has a chance to redeem himself: “Mr.  President, you still have a chance to escape the grip of the predators loitering around you for their interests and not yours. If there is no one in the younger generation competent enough to take over from you, then you have failed, Mr. President, and you must recognize this by withdrawing your candidature for a 3rd mandate that is going to be contentious”.

In his closing statement, Meiway predicts doom if Mr. Ouattara remained obstinate and insist on pursuing a third presidential term. He says “…the people of Cote d’Ivoire that have supported you through your past two mandates are likely to disrespect you…Mr. President, I like you to note that I know how to prevent, but I do not know how to cure”.

Meiway’s reaction comes on the heals of others by officials of the former President, Laurent Gbagbo’s FPI Party condemning the move by Ouattara, calling it anti-constitutional, as the two-term limit in the country’s Constitution bars him from running again. But Mr. Ouattara has said his first two mandates do not count under the new Constitution adopted in 2016.

An FPI Spokesperson, Issiaka Sangare told Al Jazeera that “Ivory Coast could have given another signal that would have allowed democracy to continue”.

The FPI has named Mr. Gbagbo’s one-time Prime Minister, Pascal Affi N’Guessan as its candidate, an indication that the former President did not intend to return from abroad following his release by the International Criminal Court to run for president.

Abdijan rocked by turmoil that is likely to be country's lot in the weeks leading to October 31

If things stay as they are, then Mr. Ouattara 78, would face Affi N’Guessan, and former ally, Henri Konan Bedie, 84 of the PDCI Party on October 31, after outlawing and forcing his former House Speaker, Guillaume Soro into exile. The election is expected to be the most hotly contested since 2011, with Mr. Bedie saying his party and Mr. Gbagbo’s FPI Party had agreed to form an alliance in the event the poll is not decided on October 31 and rolls into a run-off.

Mr. Ouattara came to power in 2011 after a civil war that claimed over 3000 lives following President Gbagbo’s refusal to step down. Mr. Ouattara is stepping in again after his pick for president, late Prime Minister Gon Coulibaly died shortly after being named the RHDP Party’s flagbearer.