Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Katiali, volunteers for the RDR and Ado were delighted with their candidate's appearance on "Face aux Electeurs" the night before. They felt he blew away the competition. Five was the magic number. Ado promised that within five years he would build five new universities and a health clinic within five kilometers of each person. Aboulonala, N'golo Politique, and Abou Dix were all heading to the sous-prefecture for training as RDR pollwatchers when this picture was taken.

"When Ado was prime minister," N'golo Politique said, "he was in his office at seven-thirty every morning, calling other people to see if they were at work!"

Ado often wears an American-style baseball cap, which has created a bit of a trend among the other candidates. The American cap implies hard worker and meritocracy, two things the voters desperately want to see after the election. "Now," said one farmer, "the people in the offices are no good at papers because they paid money to get their job. And the people who are good at papers are unemployed!"

Gbagbo's reaction was more pointed. He called Ado a liar. The insult was a little rip in the carefully maintained civic reconciliation. That night, when he went on "Face aux Electeurs" as the last candidate, Gbagbo said that his accusation was all just part of the battle of the campaign, just attack rhetoric. He used the phrase "violence verbale." Now that the campaign is over, that's over, he continued. But it made listeners here nervous. It isn't clear whether Gbagbo's young unemployed followers, who are prone to violence, and who took to the streets to put him in the presidency in 2000, understand the difference between campaign rhetoric and action in the street.

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