All You Need To Know About Senegal’s Youngest President-Elect, Bassirou Diomaye Faye

In a continent where women and youths have very little say in what becomes of African politics, Senegal has witnessed, for the first time, its youngest president, Bassirou Diomaye Faye.

Opposition leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye, aged 44, has been named Senegal’s next president less than two weeks after being released from a prison cell to campaign in the presidential election.

The opposition leader faced heavy competition against the country’s Prime Minister, Amadou Ba, who had major support from the incumbent president, Macky Sall.

Amadou Ba was forced to concede defeat when the preliminary results showed that Bassirou Diomaye Faye had become the apparent winner after being announced the winner by President Macky Sall.

The announcement of Diomaye Faye was cheered on the streets of Senegal as it represented a new era and change in power from the hands of older men to the youths who now have strong backing in the government.

Although Faye won the election against Amadou through his vow and will to transform Senegal, he was also backed by the famous opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, who had been barred from campaigning due to his earlier altercations in the country.

However, before he rose to power, becoming the youngest President in Senegal and Africa at 44, here are the things you should know about Bassirou Diomaye Faye.

Who Is Bassirou Diomaye Faye?

Bassirou Diomaye Faye is an activist, politician, and former tax inspector. Born on March 25, 1980, and married with two wives, the politician began his journey in life by earning a Baccalaureate (Bachelor’s Degree) in 2000 and received his master’s Degree in Law.

He then enrolled in the National School of Administration along with the magistracy. Diomaye Faye had big dreams, and he chased them as, at 24, he became a tax inspector in the Tax and Estates department, where he happened to meet his friend, who would later become his political ally, Ousmane Sonko.

In 2014, the two became famous icons in the Taxes and Estates Union, founded by Ousmane Sonko, who recently established the PASTEF (Patriots of Senegal) party.

During his time as one of the heads of PASTEF, Diomaye Faye campaigned heavily for homeownership for taxes and property staff. He supported Ousmane in his dreams of becoming president of Senegal in 2019, helping the man gain 16% of the Senegalese vote, but that was not enough, and he came third, losing the presidential seat to President Macky Sall.

Diomaye Faye’s Role in the PASTEF Party

Although he joined the party as a guest, Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s dreams and ambition led him to climb the ropes of the PASTEF party, later becoming one of the prominent figures in the organisation.

He grew to become the General Secretary of PASTEF shortly after the arrest of Ousmane Sonko, who had been accused of rape by a massage parlour staff.

Diomaye’s Policies and Political Ambition

After the arrest of Sonko, Diomaye Faye took it upon himself to lead the party, lending his ears to the public and speaking out for them. Diomaye always believed in eliminating corruption, restoring political stability, providing jobs for youths, and gaining economic sovereignty.

The activist held many protests against the government as he also believed in denouncing the CFA franc (a common currency of the 14 African countries connected to the Franc zone) left behind by the colonial leaders and pegged to the euro.

The activist also attempted to unite the opposition for the 2022 elections, where he won 56 seats under the “Liberate the People” alliance.

Bissarou Diomaye Faye has promised many things to the Senegalese as he announced that he intended to reduce the presidential powers and instead share his powers with a vice president, a position he will reinstall.

His words, “No country can develop when corruption and embezzlement of public funds are endemic,” indicate that he will don his armour as he goes to battle against corruption in the country and boost Senegal’s military capacity by reforming the army and ensuring that they do not involve themselves in Senegal’s political matters.

Diomaye’s Journey To The Presidential Seat

Bassirou Diomaye Faye shocked the world when he was announced as the president of Senegal by the incumbent president Macky Sall on Match 25, 2024.

Although his friend, Ousmane Sonko, intended to run for the presidency, his alleged crimes had caught up to him as he had been charged with multiple crimes which identified him as a partner conspiring with terrorist groups, endangering the security of the nation, and performing unethical acts with people under age 21.

With this many charges placed against Sonko, it was almost sure that his political career would no longer hold water, which was why the PASTEF party focused their attention on Diomaye Faye, who soon had the government and constitution against him as he was accused of committing several crimes.

In April 2023, Diomaye was arrested by the armed forces on the charges of distributing false information, contempt of court, and defamation of a constituted body in a social media post.

Further charges were included against him, as he was accused of “incitement of insurrection” and “undermining state security”, which left him indefinitely detained.

Although the PASTEF party had chosen Diomaye as its presidential candidate in November 2023 against the 2024 presidential election, despite being detained in prison, the political organisation had been dispersed several months earlier.

In January 2024, the Senegalese Constitutional Council released a list of presidential candidates. Still, Sonko’s name was not found on it despite the numerous court battles he had fought to prove his innocence against the criminal charges placed on him.

However, Faye’s name was present as none of his alleged crimes were proven. On March 14, 2024, Diomaye was released from prison, after which the next day, he found himself amid a gathering of hundreds of Senegalese supporters, making it his first appearance as the country’s presidential candidate.

It was no surprise that the youths loved Bissarou Diomaye Faye as he represented them well in the country and the seat of power. The activist, politician, and former tax inspector promised the people of Senegal a significant change as he hoped to turn the country around, much more to their favour than in the hands of their former colonial leaders.

On March 25, Bassirou Diomaye Faye was announced as the President-Elect of Senegal, the youngest president in Senegal and the youngest president yet in Africa.

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