Excellency Mr. President of the Republic
First and foremost allow me to introduce myself to you. I am a simple Ivorian citizen concerned like everyone else with the well-being of the inhabitants of Côte d’Ivoire. After this brief presentation, please accept that I address you with my few suggestions for sustainable development in a country of democracy and prosperity where all citizens feel safe and go about their business without constraint. I have carefully followed your brilliant political career from the Prime Minister to the Presidency of the Republic today. It is a remarkable and exceptional course.
After President Houphouët who started the country’s development process, you are following in his footsteps with unparalleled achievements in record time. I would not like all these achievements, all this career to sink the day when you will no longer be the tenant of the Palais du Plateau. This is why, Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, I would like, through my modest voice, to submit to you my modest suggestions regarding the situation in the country.
Indeed, with the approach of the election year of 2025, murmurs of all kinds are heard here and there. (such and such will not be a candidate, there will be cheating, there will be palavers, etc, etc). Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, as the first citizen of the country and guarantor of the constitution, I would like you to put everyone at ease, namely political opponents, civil society, the population as a whole. It is true that the country is doing well, the country is well governed under your brilliant leadership. But I believe that you can still do better than that for the happiness of all the inhabitants of Côte d’Ivoire by proceeding:
1- Release of prisoners
Proceed with the release of all civilian and military prisoners of political crises. I believe they have served their sentence long enough. Besides, most of them are sick, old, hard hit by prison, totally destitute and without financial means.
2- Elections of 2025
I would like Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, that you create an exceptional situation for these upcoming elections so that any citizen interested in the post of the Presidency of the Republic can compete. Justice, yes justice and the electoral commission will say who can be a candidate or not according to the electoral laws. However, I believe that disputes over past elections are still present in the minds of Ivorians. We are talking about peace and reconciliation, of course, but let’s go to the elections and you will see the same demons reappear. Everyone wants to be President in Africa. This is why I am making a third proposal to you, which is to set up a constitution committee in place. That of 2016 has still not appeased hearts and it still grants extra powers to the executive, a source of many divisions.
African countries and therefore Côte d’Ivoire need an impersonal constitution that does not target anyone. A balanced constitution, where the powers of the state are exercised without any institution dominating the other. The executive has its prerogatives, the parliament has its roles, the Senate plays its role, Justice, etc. Admittedly theoretically this is written but in practice, you will agree with me that the main roles are held by the executive power in our African countries.
I am talking about our political system that we must improve for future generations and not the men and women who animate it because we are all passing through. What we leave to future generations is more important to me. You work Excellency Mr. President according to the system that you found on the spot. It’s not your fault if this system is good or not. But I am sure that you can make adjustments, alterations to this system and that is the subject of my request. Houphouet no longer being of this world, you are our father to all of us. So stay above all and take action in the best interests of the nation.
You see Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, because of the extensive powers of the executive, the struggle for this power is at the origin of conflicts in Africa. All politicians run after this power for themselves or for their relatives or friends. Yes we need a balanced constitution which considerably reduces the powers of the executive. Westerners do it and we Africans must be able to do the same. It’s true that we are not Western but we Africans like to copy them so let’s copy their good side as well.
So, Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, we need a constitution in which the salaries and other benefits of the presidents of institutions including the Head of State are mentioned, a constitution where the number of ministerial departments is determined from advance except in exceptional circumstances. A constitution where the sovereignty budget no longer exists but instead the salary of the head of state and the few advantages attached to this function. A constitution where the President must appoint personalities only on condition that they go before the Senate for questioning and verification of competence and qualifications. A constitution where the presidential function is trivialized in order to make it disinterested in favor of private investment. This constitution must be applied to the letter from November 1, 2025 the day after the elections and it must not be questioned by anyone once adopted and decreed.
Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, we need a real decentralization of our administration starting with the effective transfer of the capital to Yamoussoukro now. The immediate consequences are numerous, including:
the decongestion of the city of Abidjan with multiple traffic jams of all kinds in an uncontrollable town planning.
the development by ricochet of cities like Toumodi, Bouaké, Didiévi, Sinfra, Gagnoa, Béoumi, Mankono, Séguela, Dimbokro, etc. To sign an administrative document for a civil servant working in the North, he would just have to stop at Yamoussoukro and no longer go down to Abidjan. In addition, the country would be divided into a few large regions and each of its regions would have development budgets accordingly. It would be a great competition between the regions for a harmonious development of the country.
The migratory flow to Abidjan would be slowed down. Anyone coming to Abidjan to seek employment or social welfare could stop in Yamoussoukro or in the aforementioned towns and no longer in Abidjan. If the political administration is in Yamoussoukro, it goes without saying that security would be there immediately (the 43rd BIMA, the battalions of the Ivorian army, the special forces), power being the corollary of security.
Anyone who would now come on the Ivorian political scene will no longer say, let’s eliminate so and so from the race for the presidency, the presidency must return to so and so, to have this or that you have to be from this political party or the other, if you are old you must be eliminated from the race, if you are short, if you are tall, you are poor, if you are from such a region or such a religion, etc, etc. That Africans leave in this kind of qualitative. These are not rational, objective, relevant arguments. Only the development programs of the candidates and their ideas should count. The voters will consequently appreciate in view of the arguments, qualifications, and skills of the candidates who must all be Ivorian citizens, whether they were born in the country or not.
Everything must be planned in the constitution so that the country is at the rhythm of a well-organized system, not on personal relationships but on qualifications, skills in respect of the rights and duties of each other. Only development programs and action projects will count, not personal relationships, sources of corruption and laziness.
Finally, Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, history will remember that a certain Félix Houphouët Boigny had initiated the development of Côte d’Ivoire. Then came a certain Alassane Ouattara who continued the work undertaken by Houphouët by making this work much better. All Africans will come to be inspired by your model for your own glory before it is for the glory of all the inhabitants of the country. All of Africa will award you the gold palm of excellence for leader of democracy, progress, and development on the continent.
In the hope that this plea will meet with your approval, please accept Excellency Mr. President of the Republic, the assurance of my highest consideration.
An Ivorian citizen living in the USA.
Dr. Charles Koudou, Health Administrator
Independent Consultant in Health and Development
Founder of the Civil Society National Conscience for Development
We want to thank the writer of this short article for this incredible material
Open letter to the PR of the Republic of Ivory Coast – Proposals for a lasting and definitive peace