Life in Ivory Coast
Hi, I'm posting this on behalf of Toorey. He lives in Abidjan in Ivory Coast and has been speaking to us on the programme over the last few weeks about what life has been like in the city since the disputed election result.
Toorey is frustrated that the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, will not step down. He believes Alassane Outtara should lead Ivory Coast.
We have also asked Anthony, another regular contributor, who is more sympathetic towards Laurent Gbagbo, to write a piece for the blog. I will be posting what Anthony has to say in the next couple of days.
Abidjan is now the shadow of what it was before.
Since the majority of the population is living on small businesses, small business men are facing a real deadlock. There are no sales because people lack money, partly due to the fact that many companies have closed and those still surviving have paid about 2/3 of the salaries to their employees. So money has broadly become a very scarce resource.
With money missing, the quality of life of Ivorians in Abidjan has declined to alarming proportions. Much more concerned with their survival, many Ivorians are at least two months behind with their rents.
Food insecurity: Many pots were empty at the New Year celebration day!
Following the general city and intercity transport strike, foodstuffs in Abidjan have declined. Vegetables, yams, maize, tomatoes, oil, milk, cassava and plantains are costly. The scarcity of these food items has driven people to scramble for rice, whose price has escalated beyond the reach of ordinary Ivorians.
At the end of the day, one or two kilos can make it for a whole family and sauce is not always affordable or even not needed for the focus is to keep the stomach warm. There is a serious threat of food ahead if an early solution is not found to bring life to normal.
Transport operators are not willing to bring down the transport fees due to the financial harassment by the police on roads, therefore food prices will keep mounting while Ivorians now have no energy to dig so deep into their pockets.
Ivorians are steadily descending into a serious food crisis if the political situation continues to be deadlocked.
What I see and hear in the city
The underfed, hungry and angry populations have the feeling that the International Community is weak and is dragging its feet to address the political, social and economical chaos in Ivory Coast. The majority of Ivorians, except the incumbent president's supporters, strongly believe that if there is hope, it lies on the international community, namely the ECOWAS troops, to end their suffering.
The Ivorians who are not feeling the heat of hunger, poverty and serious lack of money are mostly the faithfuls of the incumbent president. Beggars are mushrooming in streets, many workers stay at home because of transport problems and schools are closed despite some weak attempts to resume classes.
Things are not moving correctly and even the streets in some overcrowded areas of Abidjan are sometime half crowded since people are not feeling secure outside.
Finally there is despair, confusion among Ivorians and they are living in great times of uncertainty, not knowing exactly what tomorrow will bring in terms security, food and stability.
Everybody feels like they have been taken hostage or caught up between two sad realities: OUATTARA'S image of CHANGE like A FAT GOOSE IN THE TREE and GBAGBO'S militias; the armed forces loyal to him and the mercenaries still abducting and killing people.
Finally, to turn the whole thing, the incumbent president people have now openly resorted to violence against OUATTARA'S supporters.
Now the tension is mounting dramatically in town to the extent that everybody should be careful before voicing their views. Indeed, all areas are now infested with GBAGBO'S informants.
How am I feeling about everything?
Now I am definitely jobless and all my wallet and pocket have gone empty. All the contracts scheduled for December are cancelled, worsening my situation. All international Organizations have relocated to other countries. Now I really need a scholarship to go and study Translation and Interpreting in London or Canada where I can live a normal professional life.