Former President Laurent Gbagbo’s political party, Ivorian Peoples Front (FPI), on Sunday in Abidjan said it would restructure to remain relevant in future elections.
The party held a convention, which attracted a large crowd in Abidjan, and lasted into the night as a lot issues were addressed by members under tight security.
Reading out motions and resolutions after the meeting, officials said the party leadership would embark on a mobilisation of new members and creation of a ``diligent programme'' to build the capacity of its members.
The members also said the party leadership would build strong alliances with other socialist political parties within and outside the country.
The party condemned persistent violence against its members by the national army, Ivorian Republican Force (FRCI) and urged members to form a new solidarity to check attacks.
A member of the party, Juliet Asuma, who read a resolution on Gbagbo said: ``We also call for the liberation of Gbagbo, a man with unique qualities of courage, integrity, thirst for justice and peace.
``He came out victorious in the November 2010 presidential elections and became a victim of French and UN bombings.
``We have seen the re-colonisation of our country by the international community.’’
The party members called for the ``unconditional and immediate release’’ of the former president.
The members of the FPI also said civil servants had been ``humiliated and stigmatised’’ by the new government for supporting Gbagbo.
They called for the release of all political prisoners, including Gbagbo’s wife, Simone, his son, Michel and party chairman, Affi N’Guessan.
The members also alleged land belonging to some members were seized by the members of the ruling party and demanded justice, while condemning alleged ``victor’s justice by the government in power’’.
The West Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convention was held at Hotel BelleCourt and that the venue was surrounded with UN peace keepers and Ivorian soldiers with tanks.
The convention venue was covered with smiling photos of the former president and political prisoners in detention and some of those being prosecuted for war crimes.
The former president has been transferred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague since December 2011.
The convention was anchored by an interim party leader, Miaka Oureto and an interim Secretary-General, Laurent Akoun.
In his closing remarks, the interim leader of the party said they would ensure that the party remained relevant ``in spite of attacks and humiliation’’ suffered by members.
He said: ``We are still standing and will continue to stand. We will ensure a change in African politics''.
The political party, which was in power for 10 years, suffered major setbacks in 2010 following a loss in the presidential election and five months of war that resulted in the death of some of its members.
The party’s former leader, Gbagbo, his wife and about 20 top officials have for over a year, been in detention for alleged abuse of human rights. (NAN)