Singer's Gbagbo apology makes waves in Ivory Coast

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RNW’s exclusive interview with Ivorian musician Meiway has made front page news in the artist’s home country. We spoke to Meiway when he was recently in The Hague – the Dutch city that is home to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the prison where former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo is being held.

Meiway enjoyed life as one of Ivory Coast’s most popular musicians up until the post-electoral crisis that swept his country in 2010 and 2011. Responding to the violence, Meiway visited and spoke with the internationally recognised president-elect Alassane Ouattara. This outraged Gbagbo supporters and cost him many fans.

Time to forgive
In this video interview with Sophie van Leeuwen of RNW’s Africa desk, the singer explains his decision for the first time and apologises for alienating so many fans. The story has received wide media coverage in Ivory Coast where the ICC case against Gbagbo is an explosive issue. Meiway’s statement that it’s time for reconciliation and his call for Gbagbo to be released by the ICC have touched a nerve in polarised Ivorian society where it’s unusual for a public figure to admit they may have been wrong.

Click play to watch the interview. Story continues below.
The video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on various sites both within Ivory Coast and abroad and has provoked lively online discussions. Some respondents angrily refuse to accept Meiway’s olive branch but others - like these two - are more ready to be reconciled:

“ We have all suffered and are still suffering from the crisis in Ivory Coast. But we will accept our brother Meiway’s request for forgiveness. His reasons are not all that important. Let’s talk less, think more and act so that our dear country, Ivory Coast, doesn’t go down the drain. Meiway, I forgive you.”

“ My dear brother, Meiway. I’m happy that you have now rethought your position. When I saw your reaction after the fall of Ivory Coast, I was outraged. Now you are in the Republic. Welcome.”

This video is part of the Africa Desk's French-language platform Regards sur Gbagbo, set up to discuss the issues surrounding the ICC case against the former Ivorian leader.

For more content in English, visit Views on Gbagbo.