Charles Ble Goude, a close associate of Cote d’Ivoire’s former President Laurent Gbagbo, formally announced his return to politics last week, months after a dramatic homecoming in November. Goude and Gbagbo had stood accused at the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity allegedly committed following the country’s presidential election in 2010, when an estimated 3,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands more displaced within Cote d’Ivoire and in neighboring countries. Both men were ultimately acquitted by the court in 2019.
Although he still faces a prison sentence stemming from a domestic conviction on charges related to that period, Goude’s announcement last week that he was “coming back as a main player in political life” is sparking intrigue ahead of the 2025 presidential contest.
Goude’s homecoming and reentry into politics recalls that of Gbagbo, who returned to the country in June 2021. Gbagbo was subsequently invited by President Alassane Ouattara, the man who defeated him in the 2010 election, for a meeting at the presidential palace in Abidjan in what was seen as an effort to bury the hatchet. A little over a year after, Ouattara met with Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bedie, another ex-president, marking the first in-person meeting of the three leaders since the end of the 2011 post-election crisis. Between them, the trio has dominated Ivorian politics since the 1990s.