Violence linked to the election is once again threatening Ivory Coast, and civil society won’t stay silent.
Ange Brou, an activist with the NGO Youth Space For Peace, is one of the people calling for the youth and the politicians to have a peaceful dialogue.
He is organising an event at the Belleville market in Abobo.
“Youth is the driving force in this country. In engaging in violence, the youth loses a lot of opportunities and turns away from its real problems, like unemployment, the lack of training and jobs,” Brou, the director of Youth Space For Peace, explained.
“We wish the youth would instead ask for the politicians to sit with them to speak about their vision for a new society, and discuss whose candidacy is best for them.”
77% of the population in Ivory Coast is under 35 years old. That’s a massive electorate that can determine the election’s winner.
According to sociologist Faihrman Rodrigue Konan, the social and economic fragility of this population has been exploited by politicians.
“The stakes are high for the youth during elections,” Konan said.
“The violence, that is defended by their elders, generally does not play in favour of the youth.
“Fundamental questions are ignored and pushed in the background. Because the logic of violence is built on other factors, such as, usually, the identity question, which is often crucial during elections.”
“And it pushes other questions in the background, like that of the unemployment, healthcare, access to education. And all these questions are very important for the youth.”
The fear of the youth, to be taken hostage in the electoral debate, is very real.
Until the 31st of October, the day of the vote, and as the electoral campaign intensifies, the Ivorian youth will be coveted more than ever.