Ivorian Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko has died from cancer in a German hospital two days after President Alassane Ouattara named his Chief of Staff, Patrick Achi as a replacement.
Bakayoko, 56, a media executive turned politician was seen as a possible successor to President Ouattara, 79, who won a controversial third-term victory in the October 2020 polls boycotted by Ivorian opposition parties.
Bakayoko had also doubled as Defence Minister and successor to former Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who died suddenly in July 2020. Ouattara had handpicked Coulibaly as his successor before he eventually changed his mind to run for a third-term.
Meanwhile, President Ouattara’s younger brother Tene Birahima, a Presidential Affairs Minister was on Monday appointed interim Defence Minister, to replace Bakayoko, reinforcing the allegation of cronyism against the president by his opponents.
Ouattara’s third-term bid has divided Cote d’Ivoire and resulted in violent protests with dozens of people killed, a reminder of the December 2010 post-election civil war that followed his assumption of office.