Peace is “far from being a tangible reality” in Ivory Coast, Cleric Reflects

Catholic Bishops in Ivory Coast

Following the cancellation of the peace march by the Catholic Archdiocese of Abidjan in Ivory Coast that had been slated to take place in mid-February over security concerns, a priest from the west African country has described the search for peace in his native country as “far from being a tangible reality.”

“It is unfortunate to see that a simple peaceful march, and moreover praying for peace, has hatched from the bottom of hearts a lot of hatred and prepared minds for unparalleled violence. Fr. Donald Zagore who ministers in neighboring Togo said in a reflection sent to ACI Africa Monday, January 27.

Given this situation, the Ivorian cleric said, “it should be honestly recognized that peace in Côte d'Ivoire is far from being a tangible reality.”

Last week, the Archbishop of Abidjan, Jean Pierre Cardinal Kutwa announced the February 15 peace march under the theme, "Let us go towards peace" aimed at praying for the upcoming presidential elections in October.

However, on Sunday, January 26, the Archbishop, in a communique signed by the Communications Officer of the Archdiocese, Fr. Augustin Obrou, announced the cancellation of the march.


The communique reads in part, “Faced with the dangers of infiltration and concerned about security of his faithful, his Eminence requests that this day of prayer be held exclusively within the Saint Paul Cathedral of the Plateau.”

According to Fr. Zagore, a member of the Society of African Missions (SMA), “It is sad to see our peoples continually being suppressed in the expression of their rights to have their voices heard. This situation is the very expression of the lack of democracy suffered by several African countries like Côte d'Ivoire.”

In his view, the hearts of his compatriots “are still heavy, full of hatred and quick to violence.”

Considering this state, the African missionary cleric cautioned, “as long as we have violence as a means of expression and governance, we will never succeed in building democratic states, states of rights in which the rights of peoples are expressed and respected in complete safety.”

The relationship between the Catholic Church in the West African country and the government is a strained one, with the latter accusing the former of taking sides on national matters.

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