'Africa needs strong governments and strong oppositions'.

Position:Cote d'Ivoire - Mamadou Koulibaly - Interview

Mamadou Koulibaly (pictured), the former speaker of the Ivorian National Assembly, and the interim president of former President Laurent Gbagbo's defeated Front Populaire Ivorien (FPI), has formed his own party, Liberty and Democracy for the Republic. In this interview, he tells Ruth Tete why the FPI did not join President Alassane Ouattara's new "unity government" and stresses that pro-Gbagbo supporters have accepted Ouattara as president.

* How would you describe the general climate in Cote d'Ivoire after the recent inauguration of President Alas-sane Ouattara?

While the situation is improving somewhat, the lack of security remains pervasive. Looting, attacks and intimidation are still commonplace. The new army put in place by the government, the Force Republicaines de Cote d'Ivoire (FRO), is everywhere in the city of Abidjan. Yet regular police forces have the primary role to ensure law and order. The FRCI is essentially made up of young people from the North who for the most part have no formal education and lack military training. This makes maintaining public order extremely chaotic and difficult.

While the FRCI is assigned to maintain law and order, its members take part in witch hunts and harassment of opponents to the new regime under the pretext that they may be harbouring weapons. We are quite hopeful that things will continue to improve, now that the new government is in place, and that Abidjan will once again become a city where people are free to come and go as they please. It is also hoped that the regular police forces, which include policemen and gendarmes, will go back to work if an end is firmly put to the current practice of intimidation and humiliation that also targets them.

* In his speech after the inaugura-tion, President Alassane Ouattara said he would form a government of national unity. He has since announced his government, but doesn't it fall short of the unity government he had promised?

President Ouattara has formed a government consisting of members from his party and from the broader political alliance that supported his election. That is how it should be. He should be able to rely on a government that shares his vision for Cote d'Ivoire and one that will allow him to implement the programe he was elected for. This is very important.

As early as 2000, former President Laurent Gbagbo made the mistake of forming a government of national unity, which only led to inertia and paralysis. It is important that President Ouattara and his team have full control of the...

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