shake up

Côte d’Ivoire: Vice-President Duncan resigns, days after PM’s death

By Anne-Marie Bissada

Posted on July 14, 2020 07:59

FILE PHOTO: Ivory Coast Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan addresses the first Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) West Africa Regional summit at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan
Ivorian Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan addresses the first Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) West Africa Regional summit at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Less than a week after the sudden death of Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the Vice President has announced he is stepping down for personal reasons.

In a statement read by chief of staff Patrick Achi on Monday, Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan “handed his resignation to the president on personal grounds on 27 February.”

“After several conversations, the latest of which took place on 7 July, the President accepted and on 8 July signed the decree ending Mr. Kablan Duncan’s duties.”

Achi added: “The president of the republic would like to pay tribute to a great servant of the state, a man of duty and commitment.”

Rumours had been circulating for several days that the 77 year-old Vice President would be leaving the office.

READ MORE Côte d’Ivoire: Death of Prime Minister leaves political void

Ouattara had finally accepted Duncan’s request for resignation last Wednesday; the same day Gon Coulibaly died after a cabinet meeting.

Political life

A constant figure on the Ivorian political scene, Duncan’s departure will leave another hole for Ouattara as he struggles to prepare his party for the upcoming elections and his departure from the presidency.

In January 2017, Duncan became the first vice president in the country’s history after the post was created under a new constitution adopted in 2016.

Prior to that, he was prime minister in charge of economy and finance from 2012 to 2017, and then before then foreign minister from 2011-2012.

Some analysts say that Duncan’s resignation goes back to the moment Ouattara overlooked him and Marcel Amon Tanoh, the former foreign minister, in favour of Coulibaly as his successor.

Tanoh himself resigned on 19 March following Coulibaly’s nomination.

President Ouattara and the RHDP

The departure of Duncan, coupled with the unexpected death of Coulibaly leaves a rather unsettling situation for the ruling party.

READ MORE Côte d’Ivoire’s RHDP party seeks new candidate after Coulibaly’s death

It is scrambling now to find a suitable candidate for the ruling party, the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (Rassemblement des houphouëtistes pour la démocratie et la paix – RHDP), given Ouattara chose Coulibaly as his preferred successor for the upcoming polls scheduled for 31 October.

Ouattara had announced that he would not be running for a third term in the elections, to the surprise of many. “Ten years in power is more than enough, and I have a history of keeping my commitments,” he told Jeune Afrique.

READ MORE  Alassane Ouattara: ‘I did it my way’

The question that many are now asking, is in light of both Coulibaly and now Duncan gone, will Ouattara rescind on his promise and run for a third term?

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.