“I have never prayed as much as in prison (...) I don’t know how many times I have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation,” Laurent Gbagbo said during a service at the Centre Chretien de Transformation Evangelical Church in Marcory, in the south of Abidjan.
The former Ivorian president said he had come to say “thank you” to the Reverend Jeanne Monney, who came several times to The Hague and Brussels to greet him while he was still facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“She came to comfort me, to support me,” Mr. Gbagbo said, adding he once had lunch with her husband, George Monney, and the Reverend in Brussels. In doing so, he bestowed upon this woman of God, his “eternal friendship.”
During his stay in prison, Laurent Gbagbo confided that he had received visits from three evangelicals, including the Reverend Jeanne 6, and two prelates of the Catholic Church. For the other visitors, he did not want to reveal their identity.
After ten years out of the country, he noted that there are people who have not abandoned him. Mr. Gbagbo was also pleased with the theme of her preaching, which was about reconciliation, a message he hoped would be heard by everyone.
“Some people do not understand what reconciliation is,” he said, without elaborating on the issue. Certainly, the setting was not favorable for a speech with a political tone.
Acquitted on 31 March 2021, former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo returned to Abidjan on June 17, 2021. Since his return to Cote d’Ivoire, he has met with former President Henri Konan Bedie and incumbent President Alassane Ouattara, with the aim of sealing national reconciliation.