Presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire: KKB, the enfant terrible of the PDCI

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Ivorians affectionately nickname it “KKB”. Kouadio Konan Bertin (his real name), born December 26, 1968 in Krikpoko in the Lakota region (center-west), is the least known on the international scene of the four presidential candidates in Côte d’Ivoire. And yet, faced with the old pachyderms of Ivorian politics that are Alassane Ouattara, Henri Konan Bédié and Pascal Affi N’Guessan, KKB, the youngest candidate in the election of October 31 does not have to be ashamed of his career.

Banter

“Deserting the ballot box is not the solution, I have always said it and I will repeat it. I ask only one thing of the Ivorians: that they go and vote ”Saturday, affirmed this former 51-year-old deputy, known for his banter.

A dissident from the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI, the main opposition formation), he was temporarily excluded from his training for running against the party’s candidate, former president Henri Konan Bédié, 86 years old.

“You want to put an end to the governance of Alassane Ouattara. It is your right and it is perfectly legitimate. But I suggest that you do it at the polls on October 31 rather than going to put up barricades to wipe bullets, ”he said. KKB regularly presents itself as the “new face” of politics in a country where more than two-thirds of the population is under 35.

KKB had already stood for the presidential election in 2015 against the advice of his party, which then chose not to present a candidate, supporting the re-election of Alassane Ouattara. KKB had finished 3e, but with only 3.88% of the vote. He had returned to the PDCI in 2017, hoping that the old guard would step down and allow the younger generation to lead the party in 2020.

Today, the former PDCI youth president and currently municipal councilor of Port Bouët, one of the municipalities of Abidjan, pleads for more social justice in Côte d’Ivoire.

For the young people he hopes to seduce, he has promised an “interest-free loan guaranteed by the state to finance studies”.

“He is the youngest of the candidates, I think he is well placed to help young people,” said Yé Élysée Santia to AFP, a 20-year-old student wearing a T-shirt on which was written: “I am young, I choose KKB”.

Towards a 2010 remake

Commenting on the upcoming presidential election, Kouadio Konan Bertin blasted “a poor 2010 remake, with the same cast and the same script”.

The 2010 ballot already opposed Alassane Ouattara to Henri Konan Bédié, as well as Laurent Gbagbo, then president, whose candidacy was invalidated in 2020 by the Constitutional Council.

The post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, born of Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to admit his defeat to Alassane Ouattara, left 3,000 dead.

“I am committed to serving the supreme objective of peace,” KKB insisted during its investiture ceremony in Abidjan in early October.

Political tension is high in Côte d’Ivoire one month before the presidential election. In August, around 15 people were killed in violence after the announcement of the candidacy of outgoing President Alassane Ouattara for a controversial third term.

With more than 40 applications rejected, critics of KKB accuse him of playing the game of the outgoing president and of having been paid to make the election credible. “They say it without ever providing proof. […] The dog can bark, the KKB caravan moves forward ”, answers Kouadio Konan Bertin.

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