Saturday, October 30, 2010

Katiali: One Village Prepares to Vote

Domingué Yeo, president of a cooperative of cotton farmers in Katiali, supports former president Henri Konan Bedié, the candidate of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI) because when Bedié was president, the price of cotton was higher. "If we get a decent price for our cotton," said Domingué, "we can buy what we need. We can send our children to school." Domingué said he didn't care that Bedié was from another ethnic group and another region. What mattered to him was the price of cotton. Domingué and the other farmers will harvest this year's cotton crop shortly and he says it promises to be a good harvest.

Someone in the village exhumed this ancient poster of the first president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny and put it up for a meeting of PDCI organizers that were touring the area. The PDCI was the Old Man’s party and until the 1990s, the only political party in the country.

Domingué hasn’t seen Bedié on television, but his neighbors who did said Bedié looked too old and tired to govern anything. Bedié did not appear on the 90-minute program “Face aux Electeurs” to answer questions from journalists.

Despite the lack of enthusiasm for Bedié, some of Domingué's neighbors turned out to wait for the PDCI organizers on October 29, the last day of the presidential campaign. (It officially opened October 14--why can't ours be this short?) While they waited, musicians played for the village chief and other elders, and the kids practiced their dance moves.

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