Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye (born 25 March 1980), commonly known mononymously as Diomaye, is a Senegalese politician and former tax inspector who has served as the 5th and current President of Senegal since 2024. He is the general secretary of the banned party PASTEF, who won the 2024 Senegalese presidential election in place of disqualified candidate Ousmane Sonko, whom he later appointed as Prime Minister of Senegal.

Bassirou Diomaye Faye
Faye in 2024
5th President of Senegal
Assumed office
2 April 2024
Prime MinisterSidiki Kaba
Ousmane Sonko
Preceded byMacky Sall
Personal details
Born (1980-03-25) 25 March 1980 (age 44)
Ndiaganiao, Senegal
Political partyPASTEF
Spouse(s)Marie Khone Faye and Absa Faye
Alma materNational School of Administration, Dakar
Cheikh Anta Diop University
Occupation
  • Politician
  • Tax inspector

Early life edit

Faye was born on 25 March 1980[1] in Ndiaganiao, in the western department of M'Bour, Senegal.[2] He is a member of the Serer ethnic group from the noble Faye family. His middle name "Diomaye" mean "honourable" in Serer. [3][4] Faye has always claimed his rural origins, and "imbued himself with educational and social values typical of his land, Ndiaganiao, in Serer country."[5] His father, Samba Faye is a long-time member of the Socialist Party of Senegal, is quoted with saying that his son grew up with left-wing ideals. His grandfather fought for France during World War I as a Senegalese Tirailleur, and later was jailed following a dispute with French colonial authorities over his efforts to establish a district high school in Ndianganao which Faye later attended.[6]

Education and early career edit

He went to primary school in his village and then undertook middle and high school in M'Bour.[7] In 2000, Faye earned his baccalaureate. He successfully attained a master's degree in law in Dakar's Cheikh Anta Diop University and subsequently cleared both competitive exams, enrolling at the National School of Administration of Senegal (ENA) and the magistracy in 2004. After graduation, Faye opted to become a tax inspector in the Tax and Estates department, where he befriended Ousmane Sonko, a fellow alum from the same school.[2] In 2014, Faye and Sonko's relationship grew closer in the Taxes and Estates Union, created by Sonko, the leader of the newly founded political party PASTEF. During his time at the head of the union, Faye campaigned to facilitate homeownership for tax and property agents.[8]

Political career edit

 
Faye in 2020

Initially a guest when PASTEF was founded, Faye swiftly ascended to become one of the most prominent figures within the party.[2] He would go on to become one of the ideologues and designers of Sonko's program for his candidacy in the 2019 Senegalese presidential election. Sonko gained almost 16% of the vote and came third.[8] In February 2021, Faye became the general secretary of PASTEF after Sonko was arrested, being accused of repeated rape by a massage parlor employee. As part of its strategy to win power, Faye attempted to unite the opposition for the 2022 elections, winning 56 seats under the alliance Liberate the People.[8] At the same time, Faye ran unsuccessfully to become mayor of Ndianganao.[9]

Imprisonment and release edit

On 14 April 2023, Faye was apprehended as he exited his tax and property office on Rue de Thiong in Dakar. Subsequently, he was placed under police custody for charges including "spreading false news, contempt of court, and defamation of a constituted body" following a social media post he made. In this post, he denounced the perceived injustice within the judicial system, foreseeing a verdict that could potentially disqualify Sonko in a legal dispute between PASTEF and the Minister of Tourism, Mame Mbaye Niang [fr]. As the situation progressed, additional charges of "incitement to insurrection" and "undermining state security" were brought against him, resulting in an indefinite period of detention.[8]

After an attempt by incumbent president Macky Sall in February 2024 to postpone the elections, citing unresolved disputes over who could run, widespread protests erupted and the Constitutional Council of Senegal overturned the postponement.[10] In response to the protests and overturning, Sall said that he would leave office as scheduled on 2 April, setting the election date on 24 March.[11] He also expressed his willingness to release Sonko, Faye and all their supporters as an act of good faith.[12] At the end of February, the government tabled an amnesty bill to calm the social and political unrest.[13] Several hundred political prisoners were released by the government,[14] and on 14 March, days before the election, Sonko and Faye were both released from prison.[15]

Presidential campaign edit

 
Faye in 2023

After uncertainty over the possibility of Sonko being a candidate in the presidential election, PASTEF endorsed Faye in November 2023 as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election, despite him being detained. However, PASTEF had been banned several months earlier, meaning he was running as an independent.[16] On 20 January 2024, the Senegalese Constitutional Council published the final list of candidates for the presidential election and Sonko did not appear there after several legal battles. Faye's candidacy was validated because he was never convicted although remaining detained. Sonko quickly announced his support to Faye for the election.[17]

On 15 March 2024, a day after Faye's release from jail, he gathered hundreds of supporters at his first public appearance as a presidential contender.[18] Former president Abdoulaye Wade and his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) endorsed Faye on the same day, in a boost to his chances of winning election. The move came after PDS candidate Karim Wade was disqualified from contesting the race because he was a dual citizen at the time he submitted his candidacy.[19] Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, another candidate in the presidential election, withdrew in favor of Faye.[20]

During the presidential campaign, he has promised to create jobs, campaigned strongly against corruption, and vowed to reexamine energy contracts.[21] He ran under the slogan "Diomaye mooy Ousmane", which means "Diomaye is Ousmane" in Wolof, and expressed hope that Sonko's charisma and popular appeal among Senegal's youth would boost his campaign.[22] Faye's program is similar with Sonko's for 2019.[8] During the campaign, Faye released a declaration of his assets and called on other candidates to follow suit.[23]

Presidency edit

Faye was elected president after an election campaign that was marred by an attempt by the government to postpone the election, which was ultimately held on 24 March. Faye received over 54% of the vote,[24] making him the first opposition candidate to have won an election in the first round since Senegal's independence in 1960.[25] He was formally inaugurated on 2 April. In his inaugural address, Faye pledged to fight corruption and reform the economy.[26] His first official act was to appoint Ousmane Sonko as Prime Minister of Senegal,[27] who formally presented his government on 5 April.[28]

On 3 April, Faye ordered an audit of the mining, oil, and gas sector, but insisted that investors were "welcome in Senegal."[29]

Political positions edit

Faye says he believes in system change and left-wing pan-Africanism to reclaim Senegal's sovereignty, which some analysts believe is an allusion to intentions to distance the country away from Western powers, especially from the former French colonial empire.[22] He also vowed to fight "French economic stranglehold" over Senegal if elected.[8]

Constitutional reforms edit

Faye has promised to reduce presidential powers and reintroduce the vice presidency.[30]

Corruption reform edit

Faye has claimed to prioritize fighting political corruption if he is elected president, saying: "No country can develop when corruption and embezzlement of public funds are endemic."[21]

Currency edit

Faye wants to stop the circulation of the CFA franc in Senegal, remove it as its official currency, and create a new national currency. In his program, he states: "We will carry out a monetary reform that will allow our country to have its own currency."[2] In a press conference, he added: "There's no sovereignty if there is no monetary sovereignty."[31] After concern from foreign investors, in March 2023 he said that "Senegal will seek to implement a reform of the CFA franc at a regional level first and if that fails, will consider creating a national currency."[31]

Energy edit

Faye believes in the renegotiation of contracts between the government and corporations in sectors ranging from energy to mining and fishing. He has also pledged to equally distribute profits out of a gasfield that is expected to start production in 2024.[30]

Military edit

Faye aims to enhance the reputation and integrity of the defense and security forces through a concerted effort to combat corruption and inefficiency. This initiative seeks to ensure the optimal use of resources by implementing programs aimed at boosting the morale, motivation, and oversight of officers. Additionally, there's a commitment to raise the salaries of lower-ranking personnel. His program pledges to uphold the core identity of the Armed Forces of Senegal by advocating for a return to military principles, preventing their involvement in political affairs. Furthermore, the plan includes bolstering the air capabilities of the army through the procurement of strategic transport aircraft, such as the C-130, to fulfill external commitments effectively.[2]

Judicial edit

Faye believes in the separation of powers, so that there should be no ties between the executive and the judiciary. His plan involves transitioning from the Senegalese Constitutional Council to a constitutional court, positioning it as the apex of the judicial structure. Additionally, in a bid to enhance accountability and fortify oversight mechanisms, he proposes abolishing political funds and substituting them with special funds allocated by the National Assembly for critical operations, such as arms procurement and clandestine missions. Furthermore, legislation will be introduced to safeguard whistleblowers, aligning with the principles outlined in the law on transparency in finance management in the public sector.[2]

Personal life edit

Faye is polygamous and has two wives: Marie Khone Faye and Absa Faye.[32] Marie Khone is a close relative of her husband, and together they have had four children: three boys and one girl. He has not had any children with Absa.[33] Faye married Marie in 2009 and Absa in 2023.[34]

According to his declaration of assets that he released during his presidential campaign in 2024, Faye possesses a house in Dakar, as well as land outside the capital and in Ndiaganiao. He also possesses about $6,600 total in his bank accounts.[23]

Faye and Ousmane Sonko are close friends, Faye has even named one of his sons Ousmane in honor of their friendship.[8] He had a traditional village upbringing and is Muslim.[35] Faye also has a sister.[9]

References edit

  1. ^ Maclean, Ruth (25 March 2024). "Young Opposition Candidate Set to Become Senegal's President". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 March 2024. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Bassirou Diomaye Faye: what's Senegal opposition contender about?". African Press Agency. 11 March 2024. Archived from the original on 27 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  3. ^ France 24. "Le nouveau président sénégalais Bassirou Diomaye Faye promet un "changement systémique." AFP, John Wessels (02 April 2024). [1] (retrieved 13 April 2024)
  4. ^ Jeune Afrique, "Bassirou Diomaye Faye : candidat éclair, président surprise." By Marième Soumaré (29 March 2024 [2] (retrieved 13 April 2024)
  5. ^ BBC News Afrique, "Qui est Bassirou Diomaye Faye, le nouveau président de la République du Sénégal ?" (18 March 2024)
  6. ^ Maclean, Ruth (12 April 2024). "From Village to Prison to Africa's Youngest Elected President". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  7. ^ Ly, Mouhamed Abdallah; Bassène, Pape Chérif Bertrand (28 March 2024). "Bassirou Diomaye Faye: from prison runner-up to president of Senegal". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 3 April 2024. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Kane, Coumba; Théa Ollivier (23 March 2024). "Senegal's presidential election: Bassirou Diomaye Faye, Ousmane Sonko's Plan B". Le Monde. Archived from the original on 25 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  9. ^ a b Haque, Nicholas (2 April 2024). "From prisoner to president in 20 days, Senegal's Diomaye Faye takes office". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 3 April 2024. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  10. ^ Gregory, James (17 February 2024). "Senegal election: Opposition supporters march in Dakar calling for swift vote". BBC. Archived from the original on 18 February 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  11. ^ "Senegal President Macky Sall announces 24 March election". BBC. 6 March 2024. Archived from the original on 6 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  12. ^ Jones, Mayeni (23 February 2024). "Senegal's President Macky Sall agrees to step down in April". BBC. Archived from the original on 23 February 2024. Retrieved 23 February 2024.
  13. ^ "Senegal's Macky Sall proposes amnesty bill to calm election-linked turmoil". France 24. 27 February 2024. Archived from the original on 27 February 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  14. ^ Fortuné, Clarisse; Di Biasio, Laura (22 February 2024). "Eye on Africa – Senegal justice ministry says over 300 prisoners released in a week". France 24. Archived from the original on 7 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  15. ^ Négoce, Nicolas; Aradi, Gloria (15 March 2024). "Ousmane Sonko and Bassirou Diomaye Faye: Senegal opposition leaders freed days before election". BBC News. Archived from the original on 21 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  16. ^ Dione, Babacar (19 November 2023). "Senegal opposition party sponsoring new candidate Faye after court blocks jailed leader Sonko's bid". AP News. Archived from the original on 30 January 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  17. ^ "Ousmane Sonko chooses Bassirou Diomaye Faye as replacement in Senegal's presidential race". Africanews. 30 January 2024. Archived from the original on 1 February 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  18. ^ Christensen, Sofia; Bate Felix (16 March 2024). "Freed from jail, Senegal opposition presidential candidate draws hundreds to first event". Reuters.
  19. ^ "Senegal's ex-President Wade and party back opposition candidate Faye". Reuters. 22 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Presidential election in Senegal: Cheikh Tidiane Dieye calls to vote for Bassirou Diomaye Faye". Jeuneafrique. Archived from the original on 21 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  21. ^ a b Princewill, Nimi (23 March 2024). "Senegal goes to the polls as country's once sturdy democracy looks shaky". CNN. Archived from the original on 27 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  22. ^ a b "Senegal Elections 2024: Faye and his change mantra". TRT Africa. 21 March 2024. Archived from the original on 27 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  23. ^ a b "Diomaye Faye: Senegal's tax inspector and former inmate headed for the presidential palace". Africanews. 27 March 2024. Archived from the original on 30 March 2024. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  24. ^ "Former Senegal prime minister concedes defeat in presidential election to opposition candidate". AP News. 25 March 2024. Archived from the original on 27 March 2024. Retrieved 25 March 2024.
  25. ^ "Senegal top court confirms Bassirou Diomaye Faye's election victory". France 24. 29 March 2024. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  26. ^ "Bassirou Diomaye Faye sworn in as Senegal's new president after dramatic ascent". France 24. 2 April 2024. Archived from the original on 2 April 2024. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  27. ^ "Senegal president names opposition leader Ousmane Sonko as PM". France 24. 3 April 2024. Archived from the original on 3 April 2024. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  28. ^ "Senegal's youngest-ever president appoints 'breakaway' government". France 24. 6 April 2024. Archived from the original on 6 April 2024. Retrieved 6 April 2024.
  29. ^ "Senegal's newly elected president announces audit of oil, gas and mining sectors". France 24. 4 April 2024. Archived from the original on 5 April 2024. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  30. ^ a b Pietromarchi, Virginia (13 March 2024). "Tax inspectors to poultry boss: Senegal's presidential candidates". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 14 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  31. ^ a b "Senegal opposition leader backs off promise to create national currency". Reuters. 15 March 2024. Archived from the original on 17 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  32. ^ Biallo, Babou (25 March 2024). "Bassirou Diomaye Faye: ses deux épouses Marie Khone et Absa Faye". PressAfrik. Archived from the original on 25 March 2024. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  33. ^ "En route vers le Palais : Voici les femmes de Bassirou Diomaye Faye". Xalima (in French). 22 March 2024. Archived from the original on 27 March 2024. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  34. ^ "Senegal's incoming president to take office with two first ladies". France 24. 1 April 2024. Archived from the original on 1 April 2024. Retrieved 1 April 2024.
  35. ^ "'We are finally free': Senegal hails new anti-establishment president". The Guardian. 27 March 2024. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 30 March 2024.

External links edit

Political offices
Preceded by President of Senegal
2024–present
Incumbent