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Change in Africa as Faye Diomaye’s era revamps Senegal’s future

Image Source: The Standard

Senegal exudes a celebratory mood as President Bassirou Diomaye Faye is sworn into power after winning the Presidential election with 54% of the votes. Have you ever heard the case of someone ascending to power from being a prisoner in barely a fortnight? Some occurrences are intriguing because it has been hardly two weeks since Diomaye was released from prison following a political remission announced by outgoing president Macky Sall. Diomaye successfully achieved a first round of triumph while campaigning for nine days on a pledge of reform days, creating a buzz of amazement.

Many Senegalese are thrilled that this marks the beginning of restoration, rebuilding, and transformation. There has been a push and pull for democracy and the rule of law, hence the celebrations after Diomaye's success. In the past, the West African region has experienced Coup d’état and attempted coups, whereas Senegal has been exempted; this raises questions on what contributes to the stability status of Senegal as a democratic state. The stability of Senegal in the past has been marked by the rule of the law, political freedom, and press freedom over the years. Additionally, the transitioning and handing over of power between the existing and incoming leaders have been peaceful.

Sometimes, aspects preferred by most people are marked by demonstrations, though when protest marches breed a political crisis involving deaths and arrests, that puts the country's democracy under scrutiny. Last year, numerous protests and demonstrations took place in Senegal regarding the arrests of Diomaye and popular opposition figure Sonko Ousmane and some primary concerns of the former Macky Sall seeking a third term in office, albeit the constitutional term having limitations.

Diomaye's success gives the people of Senegal as a nation the hope of young people getting employment opportunities and a fight against proliferating corruption, a move aimed at fostering a reformed economy. The transparency and sincerity of the incumbent president are crucial factors that will shape public trust and confidence in the current administration in Senegal. Before the election, Diomaye was reported to have listed a declaration of his assets to the public, and he even encouraged other candidates to borrow a leaf from him. The assets listed were a home in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, fiscal assets totaling $6600, some land outside the state capital, and his hometown.

President Diomaye’s vision for Senegal and his leadership style will determine whether he can meet the expectations of the Senegalese people and lead the country towards progress and prosperity. “The exploitation of our natural resources, which belong to the constitution to the people, will receive particular attention from my government. I will proceed with disclosing the effective ownership of extractive companies with an audit of the mining, oil and gas sector," said Diomaye during his first inaugural presidential speech. Diomaye's speech shows that Senegal has been facing the menace of corruption, especially when it involves resources that remit tax to the government getting exploited by black-market alliances. Under Diomaye’s reign, Senegal's first offshore oil expansion is set to commence production in mid-2024. Additionally, the oil and gas project Sangomar, under operation by Woodside Energy, is expected to produce around 100,000 barrels daily.

Power is a tool with massive biceps, with Diomaye being a reflection of attracting investors to Senegal. The incumbent president has promised the people of Senegal that investor rights will be protected by the state and people's interests. Moreover, the former tax inspector’s victory has been recognized by his fellow presidential candidates, as he promises to implement a program of left-Wing Pan-Africanism through his defending the integrity of the territory and national independence. As an intelligent move, Diomaye appointed Sonko to be the top role of Prime Minister, a firebrand leader who backed down from the presidential contest to support Diomaye, who is less popular among the Senegalese. Sonko rallied the youths to support Diomaye, and as one good turn deserves another, Diomaye did not forget his right-hand man and former colleague as a tax inspector, who was also in prison with him before the election.

The historical legacy of French colonialism in Senegal may have influenced the current challenges of corruption and elitism in the country. President Diomaye’s stance on Senegal’s relationship with France, including the decision to leave the CFA regional bloc, reflects a reevaluation of colonial legacies and a push for greater independence and sovereignty. The trace of these epochs could give an absolute support to the thoughts and sentiments of Diomaye and Sonko towards the Senegal-France relationship, whether they have established diplomatic toes or not, as French President Emmanuel Macron aspires to forge stouter conglomerate between the duos- partnership intensification.

The legacy of Macky Sall’s presidency in Senegal raises questions about the strength of democracy, fulfillment of electoral promise, and the balance between national development and potential issues of political financing and governance practices. President Diomaye’s administration will be under scrutiny to address these concerns and prioritize good governance for the benefit of Senegalese people. As Senegalese expect a new dawn, let us retrace the steps and anticipate that Diomaye will exercise power with due diligence.



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