The last time Ivory Coast had an election as close as what it’s about to have, more than 3,000 people were killed.
That is why when Natasha Ba-ibo had photos of badly butchered people on the streets of Abidjan sent to her, she said to herself “not again.”
Natasha was one of the thousands who run away from Ivory Coast in the bloodshed that followed the 2010 election after Laurent Gbagbo refused to stand down when he was defeated by incumbent Alhassane Ouattara.
She’s been living in Ghana at the Ampain Refugee camp in the Ellembele district of the Western Region.
“For two days, I haven’t slept. I fear. I fear for my family. They keep calling me. They want to run away because they see danger again,” she says.
“Come and see”, she says, as she pulls out the phone. The photos on it show men who have their chests butchered open. You can see the heart still pumping. Another has part of his limbs hanging. You can see the bones from the gaping cut.
She claims these people were protesting President Ouattara’s decision to run for a third term in August. Close to 20 people have been killed since that declaration in widespread protests.
Mr Ouattara forced through a constitutional reform so he could run again after he had done two terms. Within this period, Mr Ouattara has largely succeeded in building the Ivoirian economy, already the world’s largest cocoa producer into a sub-regional giant.
But fears are now high that the country may slide back into the slump of 2011 after its war.
The Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) says it is aware of tensions in Ivory Coast and fears many may want to come to Ghana.
“We are aware of the situation but we know that the borders are closed because of Covid-19 so we are still monitoring the situation,” says Tetteh Paddy who speaks for the GRB.
At the Ampain Refugee Camp alone, more than 80 people have arrived using unapproved routes from Ivory Coast to Ghana since August.
Laurent Gbagbo, the strongman, whose defeat sparked the chaos of 2010 is one of 40 disqualified by the country’s constitutional court from running in this election.
He is now in Belgium after his acquittal by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity. Many believe his absence reduces the appetite for violence.
President Ouattara is tipped to win the election. His three contenders, including 86 year old ex-President Henri Konan Bédié, have all said they will not accept such a result.
“Ghana should be concerned. When it starts, you will feel it,” says Jedi Mourielle, who has lived at the Ampain refugee camp since 2011.