In Africa, the brothers of presidents are omnipresent. In politics or in business. From Côte d'Ivoire to Sudan, via Burkina Faso, who are the most influential "brothers of"?
This Thursday, Africa Intelligence tells us that in Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Troaré has surrounded himself with two communication advisers. The Burkinabè president of the transition made a choice of confidence by surrounding himself in particular with his brother. In several African countries, the brothers have an important role with the presidents, whom they advise directly.
The best known of them is certainly Téné Birahima Ouattara. Nicknamed "Photocopy", as he is the look-alike of Alassane Ouattara, the Ivorian President, Téné Birahima is undoubtedly the brother who inherited the greatest power on the continent: if he is now Minister of Defense of Côte d'Ivoire, a strategic position, he was the treasurer of the presidential palace for a long time. He was then Minister of Presidential Affairs and it was he who managed the finances of the palace, but also of the First Lady and the sovereign funds. His financial power, combined with a place of choice within the intelligence services, made him one of the strong men of the Ivorian regime.
In Sudan, in the shadows, the brothers of Hemeti
More in the news, General Mohammed Hamdan Dogolo, alias “Hemeti”, also relied on his siblings, from whom he draws his advice. Strategic, with his brother Abdul Rahim Hamdan Dogolo, who is the deputy commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and who, in 2021, was at the head of a delegation which negotiated the signing of the Abraham Accords. And image, with his other brother, who manages the general's communication, especially from Dubai. A way for the military to delegate certain missions with confidence while focusing on the war he is currently waging against General al-Burhane.
In Senegal, the situation is slightly different. The president's brother, Aliou Sall, is not necessarily the specialist in political advice, but he takes advantage as best he can of the political power of the ruling party. Aliou Sall is immersed in several financial scandals. To avoid splashing the palace, Aliou Sall had been gently dismissed. “Since the president’s re-election in 2019, I wanted to ease into politics. Not completely abandoning this area, but also doing something else…”, he explained to Jeune Afrique a few years ago.
In Gabon, Pascaline hesitates between her brother and her ex-husband
Advising or taking advantage of the political networks of heads of state, the brothers of presidents have always been omnipresent in the history of the continent. We remember Saïd Bouteflika, in Algeria, who had succeeded in inserting himself into the chain of decisions, in the middle of the generals. In the DRC, under Kabila, his twin sister, Jaynet Kabila, shared her life between business and communication. In Gabon, it was Pascaline, the sister of Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had an important role, going so far as to be the country's foreign minister. But when arbitrating the battle between her brother and her ex-husband, Jean Ping, the daughter of Omar Bongo preferred to move away from politics.
Because being “brother of” is not always easy. In Togo, Faure Gnassingbé knows this very well. While he got on well with Kpatcha Gnassingbé, who had appointed him, when he came to power, Minister of Defense, everything got carried away four years later. In April 2009, special forces set off in pursuit of Kpatcha. He is finally arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison for an alleged plot against his brother, when he had distanced himself from Faure Gnassingbé, certainly in political disagreement with the latter.