Former rebel leader, Prime Minister and President of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire, Guillaume Soro was sentenced to life in absentia on Wednesday.
A court in Côte d'Ivoire convicted former rebel leader and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro. The sentence of life imprisonment in absentia was expected after the statements of President Alassane Ouattara. And it is precisely for having, allegedly, instigated a coup against the president at the end of 2019, that Soro has experienced these setbacks with the justice system. Or is it really the case?
Strangely, when President Ouattara was asked about the case, he said: "He deserves life imprisonment for what he has done". And since justice is independent, Ouattara got exactly what he wanted. As for the objectives of condemning an opposition leader to exile - understand Soro, who wanted to run for the 2020 election - they are rather not very discreet.
With the return of Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara seeks to divide to conquer. Not that Soro and Gbagbo are part of the same political formation, but Ouattara would like to eliminate any risk of seeing Gbagbo and Soro's supporters stand up in the future. And, above all, avoid having to face too many opponents in future elections.
Old friends make the worst enemies
The verdict against Guillaume Soro fell on Wednesday after he was charged with conspiracy and attempted harm against state authority. As well as the "dissemination of false news having caused an attack on the morale of the populations".
Soro's lawyers have previously condemned the charges as politically motivated. Then they declared that there was no proof showing that he was guilty. Two other defendants, close to Soro, Souleymane Kamagate and Affoussiata Bamba-Lamine, were sentenced to 20 years in prison. Two of Soro's brothers and his former collaborator Alain Lobognon were sentenced to 17 months in prison for "disturbing public order".
The court also ordered the confiscation of Soro's property and that of his 19 co-defendants. As well as the dissolution of its movement Generations and united peoples (GPS) for "subversive acts". He also ordered them to pay $ 179 million to the Ivorian state. A first for a criminal judge, who orders the dissolution of an association without there being any associative crimes.
The case has raised tensions in Côte d'Ivoire, which is still recovering from the civil war. A war in which Soro led the rebels who brought Ouattara to power. Soro, who is popular among the young Ivorian population, was Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament under Ouattara. In January 2020, the latter referred to Soro as "his son who has learned a lot by his side". But the two men then went their separate ways. When the president made it clear that he would oppose Soro's presidential ambitions ...