Drogba calls for reconciliation in Ivory Coast

2011-09-21 08:57

London – Ivory Coast and Chelsea striker Didier Drogba urged people in his home country today to reach out to each other in a spirit of reconciliation after the country’s violent post-election crisis.

Former strongman Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power after losing a November poll plunged the country into months of violence that killed thousands.

He was arrested in April by forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara.

The Chelsea striker, who has helped quell political strife in his country before and is regarded as something of a peace figure in the West African nation, has joined a Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission designed to heal the wounds caused by the turmoil.

“I’m really happy, and proud, to be a part of this commission,” Drogba told a media conference.

“Today we have to start all over again from a new base, and for that we need reconciliation and we need forgiveness. We have to learn again how to live together.

“It won’t happen overnight, but I think we can get there, and I think that because people in Ivory Coast are tired of this crisis, fed up with what’s been happening over the past months ... they have suffered too much. Today, we need to move on, we need reconciliation, and to give our children a better future.”

Drogba said he considered himself fortunate as a high-profile sportsman to be able to help.

“I am lucky because of what I’m doing with football. I am lucky that now I can send some messages. I don’t say that they will listen, but I will send some messages and I hope that people listen to me because I think it’s very easy to make war, but it’s more difficult to make peace, to make everybody sit together and talk to each other.”

However, the striker also made it clear that he was not planning a career change, and to become a government figure in his homeland.

“I don’t want people to think that I’m going to go into politics ... I will stay in football because that’s what I do best,” he said. “Politics is not for me, but (I can) talk to people about peace, try to bring people together.”  a

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