This tutorial discusses the major reasons for the emergence of a one-party system in Cote d’Ivoire before 1993.
The Brazzaville conference granted political rights to the territories in French West Africa and this led to the formation of political parties in most of the territories.
For example Leopold Senghor formed the Rassemblement Democratique Africaine in 1946.
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Later in the same year, a new party was formed by Felix Houphouet Boigny in La Cote d’Ivoire known as Party Democratique de la Cote d’ Ivoire. (P.D.C.I).
It was the PDCI that would later metamorphose into the only dominant party in Cote d’Ivoire.
Below are the reasons for the emergence of the one-party system in Cote d’Ivoire.
1. The nature of the party
Right from its inception, the P.C.C.I assumed the nature of a mass party. The party reached out to the rich, poor, peasants, the old and the young, men and women. This gave the party a very strong support base.
Consequently, the government gained enormous political powers. It eventually executed polices as it wished and before long, the country had turned into a de facto one-party state.
2. Formation of alliances
This was a key factor that contributed to the emergence of a one-party system in Cote d’Ivoire. The party entered into alliances with other smaller parties. After these alliances the P.D.C.I. swallowed those smaller parties and became a dominant party leaving it with no formidable opposition party. The party thus became the only political party in the country.
3. External support
Felix Hophouel Boigny was a strong member of the West African Students Union (WASU). Fortunately, most of his colleagues in the Union also became leaders of their respective countries. As leaders and colleagues, they supported Houphouet Boigny to clamp down on political opposition in Côte d’Ivoire hence the emergence of the one-party system in that country.
4. Conditional distribution of development projects
One other reason for the emergence of a one-party system in Cote d’Ivoire was the way government projects were allocated. Political support was the basis for the allocation of development projects across the country. As such, only those areas that supported the ruling party got development projects. This naturally compelled all the people to support the government and the ruling party. The opposition parties, therefore, had little or no support base at all.
5. Links with European and Levantine merchants
The government assisted these merchants to give loans and other forms of credit to local farmers and traders. However, only those who supported the ruling party stood the chance of accessing these loans.
6. Control of public appointments
Public appointments went to only people who were ready to relinquish their political affiliation to the opposition parties. As a result, only P.D.C.I. members got appointment to influential positions. This made the P.D.C.I to widen its support base above all parties.
Thus, by the time Felix Houphouet Boigny passed away in 1993, Cote d’Ivoire had metamorphosed into a de facto one party state.
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