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Ivory Coast Table of Contents

Ivory Coast

Equity Issues and Ethnic Tensions

Houphouët-Boigny inherited the political apparatus of the nation-state but by 1988 had not yet forged bonds uniting citizens of diverse ethnicity to one another or to their leaders. Houphouët-Boigny had dealt with ethnic conflict by denouncing ethnocentrism as a legitimate issue and by the time-tested strategy of co-opting the leadership of potentially dissident ethnic groups by incorporating them in the party or governmental bureaucracy. Thus, for example, from the mid-1970s the Sénoufo in the north were overrepresented in the army, and southern peoples were overrepresented in the police and National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale). Meanwhile, Houphouët-Boigny invariably appointed as his minister of defense a member of the Baoulé, who were also overrepresented in the National Security Police (Sûreté Nationale), and appointed a Bété chief of staff of the army.

Data as of November 1988