Bassirou Faye, 44, sworn in as Senegal’s President

images.jpeg

Bassirou Diomaye Faye speaks after being sworn in as Senegal’s President at an exhibition centre in the new town of Diamniadio near the capital Dakar on April 2, 2024. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP)

Share with love

“Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfil the office of President of the Republic of Senegal,” Faye said before the gathered officials.

Bassirou Diomaye Faye has been sworn in as Senegal’s President, with promises of reforms coming after recent election victory.

The 44-year-old pan-Africanist leftwinger, who has now made history as the youngest elected president in Africa, has assumed presidency without prior elected office experience but with positive signals he will bring about improved system in Dakar.

Bassirou Diomaye Faye (L) is sworn in as Senegal’s President at an exhibition centre in the new town of Diamniadio near the capital Dakar on April 2, 2024. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP)

Several African leaders, including Nigeria’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu, attended the ceremony, which took place in the new town of Diamniadio, near the capital, Dakar, on Tuesday 2nd April 2024.

“Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfil the office of President of the Republic of Senegal,” Faye said before the gathered officials.

He also vowed to “scrupulously observe the provisions of the Constitution and the laws” and to defend “the integrity of the territory and national independence, and to spare no effort to achieve African unity”.

The formal handover of power with outgoing President Macky Sall will take place at the presidential palace in Dakar.

Faye was among a group of political opponents freed from prison 10 days before the 24th March 2024 presidential ballot under an amnesty announced by Sall, who had tried to delay the vote.

Faye’s campaign was launched while he was still in detention.

The former tax inspector becomes the West African state’s fifth president since independence from France in 1960 and the first to openly admit to a polygamous marriage, as an unpretending Islamic faithful.

Working with his populist mentor, Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from the election, Faye declared their priorities in his victory speech: national reconciliation, easing a cost-of-living crisis and fighting corruption.

The anti-establishment leader has vowed to restore national sovereignty over key assets such as the oil, gas and fishing sectors.

Faye wants to leave the regional CFA franc, which he sees as a French colonial legacy, and to invest more in agriculture with the aim of reaching food self-sufficiency.

But he has also sought to reassure investors that Senegal “will remain a friendly country and a sure and reliable ally for any partner that engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation.”

After three tense years and deadly unrest in the traditionally stable nation, his democratic victory was hailed from Washington to Paris, via the African Union and the European Union.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday spoke with the president-elect by telephone and “underscored the United States’ strong interest in deepening the partnership” between their two countries, the State Department said.

On the international stage, Faye seeks to bring military-run Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger back into the fold of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc.

Commonly known as Diomaye, or “the honourable one” in the local Serer language, he won the election with 54.3 percent of the vote.

It was a remarkable turnaround after the government had dissolved the Pastef party he founded with Sonko in 2014, with Sall postponing the election.

Faye, a practising Muslim from a humble background with two wives and four children, represents a new generation of youthful politicians.

He has voiced admiration for US ex-president Barack Obama and South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

However, Faye and the government he must unveil will quickly face major challenges.

He does not have a majority in the National Assembly and will have to look to build alliances to pass new laws, or call a legislative election, which will become an option from mid-November.

The biggest challenge will be creating enough jobs in a nation where 75 percent of the 18-million population is aged under 35 and the unemployment rate is officially 20 percent.

Many youths have considered the future so bleak they have risked their lives to join the waves of migrants trying to reach Europe.

Sall, meanwhile, has been appointed special envoy of the Paris Pact for People and Planet, created to combat poverty, protect the planet and support vulnerable countries.


Share with love