Abidjan – Supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo have rejected the inclusion of President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso in the African Union (AU) panel of heads of state mediating a peaceful resolution of the Ivorian political crisis.
The West Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the supporters as saying in Abidjan on Wednesday that the panel would work better without the Burkinabe leader.
Compaore, a peace mediator in the Ivorian civil war since 2004, replaced the West African representative on the panel, President Goodluck Jonathan, who said he had general elections to oversee in April.
The Ivorian Minister of Youth, Mr Charles Ble Goude, told newsmen in Abidjan that a rally would be held at Place de la Republique in Plateau on Saturday to register the country’s disagreement with the composition of the panel.
He said the Young Patriots, a group of young men loyal to Gbagbo and led by the minister, would mobilise supporters for the rally.
Ble Goude, a former student union activist, said the mobilisation for the rally would start from Yopougon on Wednesday and would be sustained until Saturday for a “grand show”.
“The Young Patriots of Cote d’Ivoire reject Blaise Compaore as a panel member of the heads of state to resolve the election crisis.
“Blaise Compaore is not welcome in Cote d’Ivoire,” the minister said.
Alcide Djedje, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had on Tuesday in a statement said the composition of the panel was not as important as the work to be done to resolve the Ivorian crisis.
Like other countries, he said, Burkina Faso was nominated after the Nigerian president said he was honoured to be part of the panel, but wanted another country to be part of it.
The AU panel comprises heads of state of Chad, South Africa, Mauritania, Tanzania and Burkina Faso.
Ble Goude had in December 2010 threatened to organise a rally that would oust internationally recognised president of Cote d’Ivoire, Alassane Outtara, from the Golf Hotel, where he has been holed up, after Jan. 1, but it was cancelled. (NAN)