Côte d’Ivoire: how far will Hamed Bakayoko?


Former journalist and businessman has become in a decade a key political player: Minister of State, Minister of the Interior and Security, real government number two, close to President Ouattara … The question s’ it can go higher and what will be his position in connection with the 2020 presidential election.
In Abidjan, it’s already time for maneuvers. In Focus: Beyond Alassane Ouattara (ADO), scheduled for 2020. And for the first time since the death of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, none of the Ivorian political tenors of the past two decades – Ouattara, Henri Konan Bédié (HKB) and Laurent Gbagbo – are participating. An opportunity for all others, whose appetites are sharpened, naturally. Behind the scenes today to light tomorrow.

Within the Houphouetists Rally for Democracy and Peace (RHDP in power), many names are circulating. The current Secretary General of the Presidency, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who would have the preference of the head of state, his deputy Thierry Tanoh, through the President of the National Assembly, Guillaume Soro and his “brother enemy “the interior minister, Hamed Bakayoko, even more surprisingly, the boss of Credit Suisse, Tidjane. Not to mention the eternal Infrastructure Minister Patrick Achi.

Vice-President, whose contours remain unclear (honorary position or real number two in the State might have to succeed ADO?) And the next constitutional review should establish, seems to have a member of Democratic party of Ivory Coast (PDCI). It could fall to the current prime minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, or its predecessor, Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou. The game of musical chairs will result that will give some clues about the odds or on the role of each other in view of the 2020 presidential election.

Predictions are going well. At the heart of the debate, a man holds a special place: Hamed Bakayoko, 51. Member of the inner circle of Ouattara – only his brother Téné Birahima Amadou Gon Coulibaly and Ouattara are closer to the current president – Hamed Bakayoko’s interior minister since 2011 and the only Minister of State of the Government, which in made a “deputy prime minister” in power, especially since it is mounted on the front line after the assassination of Grand-Bassam.
Described as “an excellent minister” with ADO, who nicknamed him “little Pasqua”, he is the man of all secret or sensitive missions. It was he who protects Laurent Gbagbo during his arrest, before participating in negotiations with his camp in exile in Ghana. Later, he will manage the crisis and the Burkinabe transition. KAMBOU SIA/AFP
In short, Freemason and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ivory Coast, “Hambak” as nicknamed Ivorians, is now a weight of personality in the Rally of Republicans (RDR), to the point that it seems clear that it will hold a leading role in the cast of 2020. Only question: he will decide to launch itself in the race to succeed or will it be in a service another?

Who would have thought ten years ago, when this former media boss (The Patriot, Radio Nostalgie) was just a young minister of the New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)? A “small” Adjamé, known for his taste of the festival, which had interrupted his medical studies?

His childhood friend Ludovic Omer Konan Kan, chief financial officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Côte d’Ivoire, sums up his evolution: “In 2011, everyone had hit the roof when was appointed Minister of the Interior, a highly sensitive position in a security vacuum environment. He restored order in the country [the general index of insecurity rose from 3.8% in January 2012 to 1.1% in December 2015] prevented destabilization by pro-Gbagbo militants to Refugees abroad and held elections without violence or incidents, which was not a foregone conclusion. Now no one is surprised by his presence. ”
Same story with his colleague in the Digital Economy and the Post Office, Bruno Koné Nabagné “Hamed has no complex and does not set any limits. He has overcome its initial handicaps, including his university course or its image. Today, everyone has forgotten. ”

On Adjamé Plateau, through Ouaga
Everything starts in the neighborhood of Habitat-Extension, in the town of Adjamé where Hamed Bakayoko spent the early years of his life. He comes from a devout, conservative family, descendants of Muslim scholars as M’fa Moussa Bakayoko, who founded the town of Koro, in the northwest of the Ivory Coast. He’s only 7 years old when his mother, Mayama, dies. So the father Anliou, which will raise rigorously Hamed and his older brother, Zoumana now MP and deputy mayor of the Plateau, and their two sisters, Fatima and Aminata.

With Sankara and his revolution, Bakayoko awakens to politics
He obtained his BEPC modern college Adjamé, hand in highschool in Abidjan classic high school, before landing his Bachelor Series D college Our Lady of Africa of Biétry. Facing the law faculty of the University of Abidjan, yet he follows the advice of his father and share in Burkina in 1984 to register … medicine. This trip to the land of upright men will mark a turning point in his life. With Sankara and his revolution, Bakayoko awakens to politics. He observes.

“Burkina helped me understand the importance of pragmatism in politics. There, I saw great ideologues. However, I have found that in terms of efficiency, it was not always this … “he explained to us Abidjan in late March.

Back in Ivory Coast after four years in Ouagadougou, and while pursuing his medical studies at the University of Cocody, he became an active member of the Student Movement and students of Ivory Coast (MEECI) a union close to the PDCI-RDA (African Democratic Rally). In 1990, he founded the movement of student and school youth of PDCI (JESPDCI). His vice president is none other than the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albert Mabri Toikeusse.

And often can be seen without his office some Bertin Kouadio Konan (KKB). A year later, in a context marked by the return to multiparty politics and the advent of media pluralism, “Bobby” – nickname given it by his closest friends – launch the newspaper Le Patriote. A body whose purpose is to defend the PDCI and Houphouët face opposition. Which will one day say the “Old” about Bakayoko, “Who is this man who creates a log to defend me without asking me? ”

The pro-Houphouet tool will later serve his prime minister, Alassane Ouattara. What in the war between the latter and the other “heir”, HKB, worth Bakayoko to four months and sixteen days of detention in the Remand Prison and Correction of Abidjan, the famous Maca. He is being held in February 1994, two days after her first Valentine’s Day with Yolande, met six months earlier at the Paris airport and who became his wife a year later.
In question ? Mail from a reader published in The Patriot and dealing HKB “midget”. The publication will be mothballed until 1998. Hamed passed meanwhile from print to radio, taking the presidency in 1993 Nostalgia, the country’s first private station. He then 28 years. In the capital are found the eponymous group, which owns 35%, and Dominique Ouattara himself. Radio expands rapidly wave the whole of Africa.

Hamed Bakayoko opens stations in Dakar and Libreville, where he met Ali Bongo and Andre Mba Obame. He was then elected in 2001 president of the National Press Council bosses. The media bracket can then be closed to make way for politics.

Ouattara clicks
“Hambak” has always evolved on the outskirts of a political sphere to which he was interested very young. First through associative movements which he participated after Burkinabe experience. Then thanks to his daily and his radio at the service of ADO face Bédié, before joining the camp of his champion, returned from exile after the coup of General Guei in 1999. But if today ‘ hui Ouattara and Bakayoko are never far from each other, they have long failed.

In 1988, the young student learn ADO, then governor of the BCEAO, should visit the site of the institution’s headquarters in Ouagadougou. He rushes to meet him, but without success. Second episode four years later, when Bakayoko speaks at the Youth Congress of the PDCI. Jean-Baptiste Gomis, chief of staff of the Prime Minister, and Camille Alliali, Minister of State, the spot and inform the President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. ADO, he is in the room. He noted his name.

he ADO will mentor and Dominique as “godmother”
A year passes, and then the boss Patriot wishes to deal in the daily newspaper the supposed marriage, but not yet announced, ADO with Dominique Nouvian. He obtained an appointment with the latter, at his residence, thanks to the intervention of Ally Coulibaly, head of the Ivorian television at the time, Minister of African Integration today. The future first lady confirms him the information. The discussion continued then, unexpectedly, ADO arrives, kisses and Dominique turns to Hamed Bakayoko.

“So, young brother, how are you? “He said with a smile. Then starts a long companionship with the couple. ADO will be his mentor, Dominique its “godmother”, as the saying “Hambak” itself. It is even a witness at his marriage in 1995 with Yolande Tanoh, whose father, Emmanuel, former president of the Bar Association and RDR influential member – he will lead the campaign ADO in 2010 in eastern country – to initiate Hamed Freemasonry. With the success that we know …
Bakayoko is all fighting ADO. Facing Bedie and Guei to. And more face Laurent Gbagbo during the decade of 2000-2011 crisis. After the Marcoussis Agreement, in 2003, when all major parties share the morocco government of national unity – “the cake”, some say – he became minister of ICT.

It remains until the dissolution of the government in 2010, orchestrated by Gbagbo, who rejects the results of the Independent Electoral Commission headed by the uncle of Bakayoko Youssouf, giving Ouattara winner. A Laurent Gbagbo with which “it maintains relations of mutual respect,” recalls a minister at the time. The extraordinary political animal that is the “comrade Laurent” will even fascinate. As often, Bakayoko plays the go-between, passing messages.

It sheet denominations, ethnic groups, social classes, says Omer Kan, his friend for over thirty years
Especially when the situation is, between 2005 and 2010, ahead of an expected presidential election but constantly postponed until positive polls convince Gbagbo to organize the poll.

“Hamed is not compartmentalized, it does not care about denominations, ethnic groups, social classes, says Omer Kan, his friend for over thirty years. He came from a neighborhood, Adjamé but also frequented youth Cocody. He never pointed against Gbagbo and has always taken care to listen or try to understand his point of view. In government, for seven years, he was one of the few not to be considered a radical. When, at the height of the crisis, everyone enjoined him to part with his driver Hervé Zouzoua, a Bete who worked for him for twenty years, he refused. And today it retains links with relatives of the former president. He made some return from exile, such Gossio Marcel, Jacques Anouma or Gervais Coulibaly, it protects. ”

April 11, 2011, when Gbagbo was finally arrested at his residence in Cocody by the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) refers Bakayoko Ouattara to ensure the former head of state to the Golf Hotel and prevent comzone or a soldier too vengeful will commit the irreparable. This is no coincidence.

Soro, the enemy brother
Unable to paint the portrait of Bakayoko not to mention Guillaume Soro. Two roosters in the same backyard … They have known since the time when the first ran his radio when the latter was secretary general of the Student Federation of Côte d’Ivoire (FESCI), between 1995 and 1998. They become gradually competitors. In 2003, one is Minister of ICT, the other Communication.

Four years later, after the agreements of Ouagadougou, Soro became leader of Bakayoko, since he was appointed prime minister. Today, even if they give a hug in public relations are frigid.

And their respective entourages do everything so that they remain so. At stake, of course, the next presidential election. If Soro, leader of the rebellion, then president of the National Assembly – and thus the number two country in the order of protocol – has often had one or more steps ahead of his opponent, the tide seems to have turned. The former child prodigy of the Ivorian political now faced legal troubles in France and Burkina Faso. Worse, the phone tapping and his alleged involvement in the failed coup attempt of General Gilbert Diendéré when the Burkinabe transition have significantly dented its image away from the presidential orbit.
A friend of both men, also near ADO President, says: “Before, Ouattara gave more importance to Soro and considered that Hamed was not yet mature enough. The Burkinabe folder, among others, has changed his thinking. Guillaume it is burned the wings when Hamed proved he had changed and matured. It was he who managed it, it was he who was hoarse to convince everyone that [Roch Marc Christian] Kaboré be elected. ”

Even “Copy”, the brother of ADO and Minister of Presidential Affairs, long suspicious of him, seems to have changed his mind. Went from rebel forces, Soro remains more than cleaving “Hambak”. Less “in place” also in a RDR where the enemy has, moreover, domestic support of Amadou Gon Coulibaly figures such Henriette Dagri Diabaté or Adama Toungara. Soro RDR is a bit Konan Banny to the PDCI: he seems doomed to evolve at the periphery. But it is also a political animal, “amazing to maturity”, as recognized one of his former ministers – which however not wear his heart. Bury too soon as this rebound would be a serious mistake. ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP
2020 will not go
“Nothing indicates that Hamed has the ambition to become president, said Omer Khan, who with Yolande Bakayoko, knows probably better. For now, he says. But it will take someone to explain to me why, if the RHDP done things properly for 2020, it would not be the ideal candidate. His record speaks for him, he is still young and enjoyed the youth of this country; it’s a simple man, who knows politics like business. It is also the only one, except for a Tidjane perhaps, who can glean voice everywhere, the RDR as the PDCI, which it is derived, the FPI [Ivorian Popular Front], etc. ”

A seraglio connoisseur wants more nuanced: “He has improved a lot, yes, but it has not yet consistent with the picture that we have of a head of state, notably because of its past golden boy. It can easily take and make mistakes. And then everyone gets excited about it or Soro, but who told you that ADO has not made another choice? ”

The 2020 equation holds true is many parameters that nobody really control. What about the supposed “deal” between ADO and Bédié who would either turn the PDCI to be in power? Activists of the latter would they agree again to let the train go? If Alassane designated his dolphin, Amadou Gon Coulibaly for example, would happen so far to impose it to voters?

In what state will the opposition, including the FPI Pascal Affi N’Guessan, which will inevitably impact the election? “2020 is still far away, it may take a lot of things by then,” analyzes Bruno Koné, spokesman of the government. But whatever happens, “Hambak” will have its say. Perhaps also he projects beyond, in 2025 for example. After all, it will have only 60 …



On the mainland, Hamed Bakayoko has close relations or friendships with many heads of state. It is thus very close to the new president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. It is also very early pains to convince his colleagues and his boss Ivorian Alassane Ouattara – at least initially skeptical – as the successor of Blaise Compaoré and Michel Kafando is former Prime Minister and President of the ‘Assembly.

Gabon’s Ali Bongo and Denis Sassou Nguesso, Freemasons like it, enjoy it, as Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe, met when they were both telecommunications ministers in their countries, or the Malian Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta . Same affinities with Macky Sall, he saw mid-May in Dakar, where he returned, he said, “very impressed with the modern head of state and by the performance of Senegal.”

Last but not least, Mohammed VI. Bakayoko was appointed minister accompanying the King of Morocco during an official visit Sherifian sovereign in 2013 (in the absence of the Prime Minister, on the road) in Ivory Coast. The two men of the same age, became friends, dining together in Abidjan or leaving the tumult of the economic capital for a few days in Assini … M6 likes to get out when he can, the rigors of protocol. He found the right person in Bakayoko for help. Since they are called and are regularly.