Hamed Bakayoko becomes 2nd Ivorian Prime Minister to die in office within one year
London, March 11, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Hamed Bakayoko, the Ivorian Prime Minister died Wednesday of cancer in Germany, the presidency announced, marking the second time within a year that the country’s premier has died in office due to illness.
Bakayoko, 56, had been brought to Paris for medical treatment nearly a month ago, and had recently been moved to Germany.
Associated Press reports that a government statement announcing his death was read on national television Wednesday evening.
Bakayoko was chosen last July after then-Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died from a heart problem.
Coulibaly was President Alassane Ouattara’s chosen successor, and the incumbent leader decided to seek another term in office after his party’s preferred candidate died.
President Alassane Ouattara described Mr Bakayoko as a “great statesman, an example to young people and a man of exemplary loyalty”.
“The prime minister served Ivory Coast with dedication and selflessness,” Ouattara said.
Mr Bakayoko was flown to France in February for medical tests and was later transferred to Germany due to his deteriorating health.
A former media executive who turned to politics, he played a prominent mediation role in Ivory Coast’s civil war during the first decade of the century.
“He was a key player in the political game and a major player in reconciliation. It’s a true shame,” Issiaka Sangare, spokesman for the opposition Ivorian Popular Front told AFP news agency.
Aside from his role as prime minister, Mr Bakayoko was also the country’s defence minister.
Patrick Achi has been appointed as interim prime minister, while Tene Birahima Ouattara, a younger brother of the president, has been named interim defence minister.