Ivorian Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko dies in German hospital aged 56
Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, who was seen as a possible successor to President Alassane Ouattara, has died in a hospital in southwest Germany, two days after his 56th birthday, the government said on Wednesday.
A former media executive who turned to politics, Bakayoko acted as a negotiator and intermediary between warring factions as a prolonged civil conflict racked Ivory Coast from the early 2000s.
“He was a great statesman, a model for our youth, a personality of great generosity and exemplary loyalty,” Ouattara said on Twitter.
A close ally of Ouattara, he was appointed as prime minister in July 2020 following the sudden death of his predecessor Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who had been handpicked by Ouattara to succeed him.
Notre pays est en deuil.
J’ai l’immense douleur de vous annoncer le décès du Premier Ministre, Hamed Bakayoko, Chef du Gouvernement, Ministre de La Défense, ce mercredi 10 mars 2021, en Allemagne, des suites d’un cancer. pic.twitter.com/IfImVNdlho
— Alassane Ouattara (@AOuattara_PRCI) March 10, 2021
He was flown to France on February 18 for medical checks and later to Freiburg in Germany.
The government said in a statement on Friday that Ouattara had met Bakayoko during a visit in France last week, and given the state of the minister’s health, it was recommended that his hospitalisation should be extended.
The prime minister’s prolonged absence led Ouattara to appoint his close confidant and chief of staff Patrick Achi as interim prime minister.
Bakayoko “was a key player in the political game and a major player in reconciliation. It’s a true shame”, said Issiaka Sangare, spokesman for the opposition Ivorian Popular Front.
Bakayoko abandoned medical school to launch Le Patriote newspaper in the early 1990s, enabling him to build ties with various actors on the Ivorian political scene.
His move to head the Ivory Coast subsidiary of French Radio Nostalgie in 1993 opened the world of showbiz to Bakayoko, who rose to become the head of the radio’s African operations in 2000…..read more