The UN’s ruling was disputed by the country’s own Constitional Council on the basis of vote rigging, and Mr Gbagbo has no intention of stepping aside without a fight. Mr Gbagbo wants to use taxes on cocoa to fund his attempts to stay in power. But to fight, he needs money – $150m (£93m) by next month just to pay his security forces, according to Natznet Tesfay, head of Africa forecasting at Exclusive Analysis.
It is this need to fund his bid to stay in power that explains his attempt to seize control of the country’s cocoa industry, which provides about 35% of government revenues. In the short term, it is unlikely to bring the rewards he craves, for the very simple reason that there is currently an export ban on all Ivory Coast’s cocoa. This was imposed by Alassane Ouattara, the man recognised internationally as the winner of last year’s presidential election, specifically to deny his rival the opportunity to raise funds.
In the middle of this diplomatic minefield lies the Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry. It has become a pawn in an increasingly bloody political game, and cocoa traders, chocolate makers and ultimately consumers will have to wait until the game is played out before there is any certainty in the supply and price of this precious commodity.