Ivory Coast’s ex-president Laurent Gbagbo on Monday, June 21, 2021, filed for divorce from his wife of three decades, days after his highly anticipated return to the country.
As per media reports in the West African country Gbagbo’s lawyer Claude Mentenon said in a statement that after years of “repeated rejected requests for Simone Ehivet to consent to an amicable separation”, the ex-president had asked an Abidjan court for a divorce.
It comes amid further reports the 76-year old former Head of State has been in a relationship with 47-year old journalist Nana Bamba.
The announcement comes four days after Gbagbo returned to Ivory Coast following a decade’s absence, during which he was tried for crimes against humanity during the post-election conflict of 2010-11.
Simone Gbagbo wielded significant political influence as the first lady and was arrested alongside her husband in April 2011 after he refused to concede defeat, sparking a conflict that left some 3,000 people dead.
Gbagbo was sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he was definitively acquitted in March after a lengthy trial.
Simone Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years’ prison in Ivory Coast for “violating state security”, but was released in 2018 after seven years of detention as part of an amnesty.
Gbagbo’s homecoming comes after his once-bitter rival, current President Alassane Ouattara, embraced his return in the name of national reconciliation.
Laurent and Simone Gbagbo, who have two daughters, married in 1989 and campaigned alongside each other for the introduction of multi-party elections in the 1990s.