In Ivory Coast, the surprise Robert Beugré Mambé as prime minister

“No one saw it coming! », swears a minister from the previous government

In Ivory Coast, the surprise Robert Beugré Mambé as prime minister

“No one saw it coming! », swears a minister from the previous government. Robert Beugré Mambé was appointed prime minister on Monday October 16 by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, replacing Patrick Achi, who was dismissed from office on October 6. Ten days of suspense, during which several names were circulated. Would Patrick Achi be reappointed? Would he be replaced by Fidèle Sarassoro, chief of staff and confidant of the president? By the spokesperson and secretary general of the presidency, Abdourahmane Cissé? The latter finally announced, in an express speech, that the governor of the autonomous district of Abidjan was responsible for forming the next government. “It’s a big surprise,” admits someone close to power.

At 71, Robert Beugré Mambé is by no means unknown. From 2005 to 2010, he chaired the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) and firmly opposed President Laurent Gbagbo with whom he argued for months over the composition of the electoral lists and the conditions for organizing the election. A few months before a high-tension election – which will end in a bloody electoral crisis which left 3,000 dead, according to the UN – Robert Beugré Mambé arrived.

From this bitter battle he kept a strong link with the opposition of the time, made up of the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire-African Democratic Rally (PDCI-RDA) from which he came, and the Rally of Republicans (RDR) led by Alassane Ouattara. When the latter became president in 2011, he appointed the former president of the electoral commission as head of the autonomous district of Abidjan in 2011, then minister in charge of the Francophonie Games in 2016.

The bond between the two men grew even closer when the PDCI-RDA left the ruling coalition in 2018. “Robert Beugré Mambé was one of the first to choose the Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), Alassane Ouattara has not forgotten it,” continues the former minister quoted previously. His relations with the PDCI-RDA remain no less correct, hence the seemingly contradictory description given of this pastor's son, a close friend of President Ouattara, as a man who is at once "pacifist, "PDCIist" and loyal." . This balance allowed him to be elected deputy for the commune of Songon (south) in 2018, then promoted to vice-president of the RHDP in 2022. Robert Beugré Mambé has always shown unwavering support for President Ouattara, his appointment therefore appears to be a loyalty bonus.

Rebalancing at the top of the State

A public works engineer by training, Robert Beugré Mambé is also a technocrat, responsible for major projects in Abidjan under the presidency of Félix Houphouët-Boigny. A profile in line with the roadmap set by “ADO the builder”, as the president is nicknamed by his supporters, to his previous governments: the massive construction of infrastructure.

Originally from the south, born in Abiaté near Dabou, and a Christian of the Atchan ethnic group (commonly called Ebrié), Mr. Beugré Mambé finally makes it possible to rebalance the top of the State, while the President of the National Assembly, Adama Bictogo, the new president of the Senate, Kandia Camara, and the vice-president, Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, are all from the north of the country and Muslims.

According to several sources, it was to the latter that Alassane Ouattara entrusted him with suggesting the name of the new prime minister. The decision was thus made to remove the outgoing candidate, Patrick Achi, with whom Mr. Koné had complex relations and of whom Alassane Ouattara's close entourage was wary in the run-up to the 2025 presidential election.

While the vice-president appears to be one of the president's favorites to succeed him at the end of his third term, Robert Beugré Mambé embodies a technical choice more than a political one. Anything but a potential competitor. The new prime minister, who immediately resigned from his post as governor, will have to propose “as soon as possible” the composition of his future government, the presidential press release announced this morning. A government of technocrats, observers predict, designed to administer the country while waiting for the RHDP strategy for 2025 to become clearer.