A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
Over recent years, Côte d'Ivoire has faced a wave of protests related to the presidential elections. These frustrations and resentments remain palpable and tensions have continued since the start of the process leading to the October 2020 elections.
The military uprisings of 2017 in Bouaké and the community conflicts in the localities of Gandié in 2018 and Danané, ZouanHounien, Bin-Houyé, Duékoué and Béoumi in 2019 indicate instability of the social climate. Other catalysing factors, including the debates on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the electoral code have greatly contributed to the fragile and volatile social climate which is currently being experienced in country.
Indeed, since the start of 2020, alert levels have changed from Yellow to Red, where they currently stand. The withdrawal of the incumbent President from the presidential race on 5 March 2020 and the appointment of the former Prime Minister, as a candidate of the ruling party on 12 March 2020 reduced tensions during the first quarter of the year. However, tensions increased again on 8 July 2020 when the nominated candidate of the ruling party unexpectedly died leaving the seat of candidate for the 2020 presidential elections vacant. The President then announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential elections on 6 August 2020, during the traditional statement to the Ivorian nation by the President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.
Since this announcement, the country has experienced intermittent socio-political unrest with meetings and protest marches suppressed by the army. According to news reports, these protests have to date, resulted in the deaths of twenty (20) people and many more wounded, in addition to one (1) person kidnapped. Tensions escalated to a Red alert level on 17, September 2020, when the list of candidates for the presidential elections was published. Further on the 30 September 2020, the opposition stated they will not accept the election results by resigning from the IEC, as they believe the ruling party has put in place rigging of the elections. This statement has worsened the political climate in the country and tensions with potential violence are anticipated before, during and after the elections. This requires NS to ensure that its volunteers are set to face an eventual outbreak of violence and fulfil their mandate to support people in times of crisis.
These series of events, combined with the exacerbating factors listed above, point to the potential of a major crisis in the country that could have serious humanitarian consequences requiring a response from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in the run up to the election, in addition to the post-election period. The national society needs to take all the preventive measures to prepare and respond to the anticipated impact that these events will have on the humanitarian situation before, during and after the elections.
The election timeline is in the process of being defined, however critical dates around which tensions could occur currently include:
• Publication of validated candidates list: 16 October 2020.
• Election Day: 31 October 2020
• Election Results: TBC