Présidentielle en Côte d’Ivoire : Kouadio Konan Bertin, un opposant qui ne dérange pas

Alors qu’une partie de l’opposition boycotte le scrutin du 31 octobre, le dernier candidat en lice face à Ouattara est plombé par son image de « faire valoir » du pouvoir.

A l’intérieur d’une villa étroite et bien gardée d’une cité résidentielle sans âme au nord d’Abidjan, quelques militants s’ennuient en attendant leur champion. Quand il arrive enfin, Kouadio Konan Bertin s’installe sous le néon de « KKB TV », la webtélé qu’il s’apprête à lancer. Devant la dizaine de caméras braquées sur lui, celui que ses partisans surnomment par ses trois initiales a l’air aussi heureux que mal à l’aise. Son regard est hésitant et ses gestes incertains. Il se lance une première fois, avant d’être interrompu par les journalistes et la poignée de militants qui jouent des coudes pour le voir et l’entendre. Avec un sourire gêné, il recommence : « Ce chef-d’oeuvre, cette chaîne, KKB TV, va inexorablement nous conduire à la victoire du 31 octobre prochain », lâche-t-il, machinalement. En écho, quelques timides applaudissements résonnent.

La sobriété du lieu et la modestie de la foule s’accordent mal avec le statut du personnage : « KKB » est aujourd’hui le seul candidat encore en campagne pour l’élection présidentielle face au président sortant Alassane Ouattara. Depuis le 14 septembre et la validation de sa candidature par le Conseil constitutionnel, l’ancien membre du Parti démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) aujourd’hui candidat indépendant a refusé de rejoindre le front uni de l’opposition et rejette les appels au boycottage du scrutin et à la désobéissance civile. « Ma candidature a été retenue ainsi que celle de deux autres opposants, les conditions de l’élection ne sont pas nouvelles, alors allons aux élections ! », se justifie-t-il. Sa volonté de participer coûte que coûte au scrutin agace les opposants qui voient dans ce maintien une candidature de complaisance.
« Il se trompe de camp »

Parmi eux, nombreux sont ceux qui s’interrogent sur les conditions de sa participation au scrutin. « Qui peut sérieusement croire que des poids lourds de la vie politique ivoirienne comme Mamadou Koulibaly [ancien président de l’Assemblée nationale et président du parti Lider], Marcel Amon Tanoh [ancien ministre des affaires étrangères] et Albert Mabri Toikeusse [président de l’UPDCI] n’ont pas été en mesure de réunir les parrainages et les fonds nécessaires d’après le Conseil constitutionnel mais que lui y soit parvenu ? », peste un proche d’une figure de l’opposition ? qui s’étonne d’ailleurs de voir des affiches du candidat fleurir sur les murs de la capitale économique ivoirienne et dans les villes de l’intérieur du pays.

« C’est l’adversaire que s’est choisi et qu’a financé Ouattara pour donner une allure démocratique à cette élection et une légitimité à sa candidature », accuse-t-il. L’ex-premier ministre Pascal Affi N’Guessan, dont la candidature a été retenue mais qui « ne se reconnaît pas » dans l’élection et appelle au boycottage, critique lui aussi la décision de Kouadio Konan Bertin d’y participer : « Il se fourvoie, il se trompe de camp, il faut qu’il sache que les Ivoiriens le regardent. »

Face à ces accusations, le candidat âge de 52 ans répond inlassablement qu’il n’est « pas un homme qu’on achète ». Et la webtélé, expliquent ses équipes, a « vocation à apporter des redressements à tout ce qui se dit sur le candidat », et notamment sur les réseaux sociaux, où « KKB » est l’objet de moqueries des internautes ivoiriens. Lui y voit plutôt le signe d’une campagne de déstabilisation de l’opposition contre sa personne. Il n’empêche : la faible affluence observée à ses meetings (à peine quelques centaines de personnes) donne une indication de son poids politique réel et interroge sur sa présence dans cette campagne et sur les moyens dont il dispose.

Mais ces reproches n’ont rien de nouveau pour ce fils de cacaoculteur originaire de Lakota, une ville du sud de la Côte d’Ivoire, qui cultive depuis des années une image de trublion. Après avoir été l’un des rares à soutenir l’ancien président Henri Konan Bédié lors du coup d’Etat qui l’a chassé du pouvoir en 1999, Kouadio Konan Bertin a grimpé tous les échelons du PDCI. Devenu président des jeunes du parti au mitan des années 2000, il est élu député en 2011. En 2015, contre l’avis de son parti et de son chef, Bédié, alors allié à Alassane Ouattara, il fait le choix de la dissidence en se déclarant candidat à l’élection présidentielle. Il finit troisième avec seulement 3,88 % des suffrages exprimés. Une candidature aux allures de tentative de parricide qui lui coûtera, l’année suivante, son poste de député.
« Soldat perdu »

De retour au parti après cette première aventure en solitaire, il devient conseiller de Bédié. Pas pour très longtemps. En juin 2020, alors qu’Alassane Ouattara a déjà annoncé son intention de passer le relais à une nouvelle génération, l’ambitieux propose ses services à son parti. En vain : Henri Konan Bédié, 86 ans, sera le candidat du PDCI. Ecrasé une fois de plus par son « mentor », il choisit de se présenter en candidat indépendant, ce qui lui vaut d’être aujourd’hui qualifié par Bédié de « soldat perdu ». Tiraillé entre les accusations de traîtrise de l’opposition et les clins d’oeil adressés par le pouvoir, Kouadio Konan Bertin fait pourtant mine de croire en ses chances. « Les opposants ne veulent pas d’Ouattara, et les Ivoiriens non plus. Ça tombe bien, nous ne serons plus que deux le 31 octobre, je suis donc la solution », prévoit-il. « Derrière un ego mal placé, il faut lui reconnaître un certain courage et une cohérence dans ses combats », concède un proche de Bédié, qui le connaît bien.

« Est-ce que je ne suis pas un des rares à avoir mis en garde contre la révision de la Constitution ? », aime à rappeler aujourd’hui l’opposant, en référence à 2016, quand Henri Konan Bédié avait soutenu Alssane Ouattara dans sa volonté de faire adopter une nouvelle loi fondamentale. Clin d’oeil de l’histoire, c’est aujourd’hui grâce au nouveau texte qu’Henri Konan Bédié a le droit d’être candidat (suppression de la limite d’âge) et c’est en s’appuyant sur celui-ci que les opposants au président sortant lui reprochent son troisième mandat controversé, qu’ils jugent anticonstitutionnels.

« Il se positionne pour l’après-élection, estime un proche de Pascal Affi N’Guessan. Soit il sera récompensé par Ouattara pour son rôle de faux opposant, soit il reviendra au PDCI pour jouer un rôle dans l’après-Bédié. Mais je ne crois pas que les Ivoiriens oublieront la posture lâche qu’il a eue dans un moment difficile de l’histoire ivoirienne. » Un jugement et des critiques battus en brèche par « KKB », qui a répondu devant ses partisans : « Le chien aboie, la caravane passe. »

source : lemonde.fr    |    auteur : Yassin Ciyow

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