This does not seem like a good week to be a lookalike. At least it was not for this man in France who was mistaken for Ivory Coast’s former strongman leader, Laurent Gbagbo, in France, and barely escaped with his life.
Laurent Gbagbo is Ivory Coast’s ex-president, a seat which he occupied from 2000 to April 2011 before being tossed from grace. The former historian, amateur chemist, and physicist led a brutal regime as he attempted to hold on to power.
He had risen up through the ranks after founding the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) in 1982; he won a seat in the National Assembly of Côte d’Ivoire in 1990 after an unsuccessful Presidential bid against Félix HouphouëtBoigny.
He was, however, successful in 2000 but his entire administration was laced with financial and economic mismanagement. As if that was not enough, when he lost to current President Alassane Ouattara in 2011, he tried to hold on to power, by all means, causing a period of deadly violence for Ivorians.
It had taken the intervention of the UN and France to oust him, after which he became the first head of state to stand in the dock of the International Criminal Court.
The case which promises justice for the over 3000 lives lost in the violence, is still being tried but it seems that some Ivorians are not satisfied with the sometimes slow nature of the law. A man who looks like the former President was assaulted in France. He was attacked by compatriots on the street of Paris on Tuesday.
It had taken the intervention of passers-by to rescue him for the aggrieved countrymen who were determined to get their pound of flesh as he strolled innocently through Paris.
One can only hope that the wheels of justice will not disappoint these people who seem so obviously eager to have the former leader pay for his crimes against them.
We do feel sorry for the lookalike who was more than a bit rattled after the shakedown but at the very least his case is better than another doppelganger story from this week where a man spent over 17 years for a crime he did not commit until a picture of his own lookalike surfaced.