The announcement of the death of Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, 56, was made Wednesday in a hospital in Germany, AFP learned from sources close to his entourage.
Death of Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko in Germany
Hamed Bakayoko, 55, had been evacuated to France on February 18 for health reasons. He was then transferred to a hospital in Germany.
The whole of Ivory Coast was faced with shock and uncertainty on Thursday on learning of the death of Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, the second prime minister of the West African nation to die in office in less than eight months.
A close ally of President Alassane Ouattara, Hamed Bakayoko, who died according to official reports of “cancer” a few days after his 56th birthday, had been appointed prime minister in July 2020 after the death of his predecessor Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Ouattara’s hand-picked successor.
Although Alassane Ouattara appointed his chief of staff Patrick Achi as interim prime minister on Monday while Bakayoko was in hospital, the death of Hamed Bakayoko leaves a void for Alassane Ouattara to fill as he continues his search for a potential successor.
“It will be difficult to replace him because of his position, his way of doing things,” said Maturin Bamouni, a resident of Abdijan. “Even when they are not on his political side, he always manages to settle things.
Hamed Bakayoko, a political figure who was unanimous.
A central figure in Ivorian politics over the past two decades, as the country was plunged into protracted conflict and partition, Bakayoko, a jovial figure with roots in media and showbiz, emerged as a conciliatory figure, able to talk to all sides of the conflict.
His ability to win the trust of all sides, including former rebel soldiers who staged a series of mutinies in 2017, threatening a fragile peace in the world’s top cocoa-producing nation, led to his appointment as defense minister in 2017, and to retain that portfolio when he became prime minister.
He ended mutinies and led reforms that helped keep soldiers out of politics in the October 2020 presidential election, said Arthur Banga, an Abidjan-based historian and military analyst.
He has been able to build trust between the soldiers, the chain of command and the regime, which has contributed greatly to the stability seen from 2017 to the presentArthur Banga
Guillaume Soro, a former rebel leader who later led a government with Bakayoko as minister before falling out with the current government, said he had lost a friend and brother.
Life circumstances have unfortunately led us to take different, opposing and sometimes conflicting political paths, but above all we have known how to keep and preserve our brotherhood and mutual affectionGuillaume Soro