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Can Ouattara be a leader of the people?

After all the violence, the divisions, will the claimant president be able to bring normality to Cote d'Ivoire?
Last modified: 8 Apr 2011 01:33

Alassane Ouattara state of the nation address on Thursday promised a new start for the country –  with banks and hospitals reopening and improved security - it would take more than resumption of normal services to signal a return to normal life to heal the country's wounds.

Ouattara also called on his forces to restore order in the main city of Abidjan, where roaming militia have been engaged in looting and random attacks.

I suspect for civilians who just want the fighting to end the announcement is welcome news as they seek to return to some kind of normality.

There is talk of the curfew being lifted which could ease movement. That means more people can venture out of their homes and buy food, get water and other necessities.

The question is will he get the support of Ivorians still loyal to Laurent Gbagbo?

It is difficult to predict the future but given the huge political and ethnic tensions that still haunt this West African nation, it may not be easy.

Can Ouattara deliver?

Forty six percent of those who voted in November’s election chose Gbagbo. Are they ready to change allegiances? If not it could make his presidency difficult.

People are bound oppose him and gaining legitimacy could be a challenge.

The only way he can win the hearts of some of Gbagbos’ supporters is to get his rival to step down and accept him as the new president.

He could then extend the olive branch and allow Gbagbo to go into exile without fear of arrest or death.

If Gbagbo is captured  how Ouattara deals with his rival will determine whether Ivory Coast will move forwards peacefully or descend into chaos.

But we must not forget that Gbagbo may be hiding in a bunker but he is not yet gone.

He seems determined to rule Ivory Coast – can he outsmart Ouattara and if so how?