Three months after Ivory Coast’s home victory at the African Cup of Nations (CAN), everyone is looking to claim their share of the trophy. Including now in the field of political communication. While the country already has the 2025 presidential election in its sights, all parties have understood that brandishing the golden globe is a much better attraction than any speech.

The latest contender to win the trophy? Fabrice Lago, the national technical secretary in charge of political marketing at the African People’s Party – Côte d’Ivoire (PPA-CI), the opposition party of former President Laurent Gbagbo. Customary for shock outings on social networks, where he calls himself Steve Beko (in reference to the South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko), Mr. Lago published a letter on his Facebook page on Tuesday, May 21, signed by his hand and addressed to the president of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) Idriss Diallo, requesting the “making available of the CAN trophy”.

“I would like, as part of my political tours” in favor of the candidacy of Laurent Gbagbo, he indicates, in particular for two meetings of activists on June 1 and 8, in order to “be able to present this trophy which makes the pride of the Ivorian people”. Fabrice Lago hopes to receive “a necessarily favorable response” to his request, he concludes with irony, “knowing [the] high sense of fairness and justice” of the president of the FIF.

The letter was widely relayed and commented on on social networks, where many Internet users close to those in power were quick to express their indignation. “After boycotting CAN2023, the PPA-CI expresses its desire to parade with the African Cup.

“Personal initiative”

For its part, the leadership of the PPA-CI indicated that this letter was a “personal initiative of a member” of the party and denied being at its origin. “However,” explains Fernand Ahile, his communications officer, “everyone understands that comrade Fabrice Lago denounces what happened in Korhogo with the RHDP. »

Because the city of Korhogo, in the north of the country, hosted a major ceremony of homage to President Alassane Ouattara on Saturday, during which the cup was brandished by several leaders: the mayor of the city Lacina Ouattara, the vice-president Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, the chief of staff of President Fidèle Sarassoro, the Minister of Finance Adama Coulibaly, the high representative of the President Gilbert Koné Kafana, the Minister of National Education Mariatou Koné…

Images of the trophy passing through the hands of these officials made the rounds on social networks and the opposition criticized the exploitation of the sporting victory by those in power. To which the pro-RHDP activists retorted that the gathering was not a partisan meeting, but a tribute to President Ouattara, and promised that no political faction had more rights than another to the trophy. A promise that Fabrice Lago seems to have taken literally. It’s up to the FIF to decide.