Bassirou Diomaye Faye Promises Systemic Change, Picks Sonko as PM

By Kolawole Adesoye, JKNM Reporter

TUESDAY, April 2nd, Bassirou Diomaye officially assumed the presidency of Senegal, pledging a transformative agenda during his inauguration held in Diamniadio, near the capital Dakar.

In his inaugural speech, Faye paid homage to the sacrifices made by countless individuals during the nation’s tumultuous political journey, vowing to honour their memory by delivering on his electoral promises.

In a symbolic move, Faye appointed Ousmane Sonko, a key figure in his electoral success and former opposition leader, as prime minister shortly after assuming office.

Sonko, who had been instrumental in rallying support for Faye despite facing legal challenges himself, now assumes a crucial role in the new government’s leadership.

According to Faye, his new administration now inherits a nation grappling with economic challenges, including a cost-of-living crisis and high unemployment rates, particularly among the youths.

However, Faye pledged to address these issues head-on, emphasizing national reconciliation, anti-corruption measures, and the restoration of sovereignty over key sectors such as oil, gas and fishing.

He also expressed his determination to strengthen Senegal’s democratic institutions and establish an independent judiciary to uphold the rule of law.

However, he noted that he faces the dauting task of navigating a fragment political landscape, as he lacks a parliamentary majority and must forge alliances to implement his agenda effectively.

But despite these challenges, he said his presidency has been met with optimism both domestically and internationally, with pledges of support from various stakeholders. The United States, among others, has expressed keen interest in deepening ties with Senegal under Faye’s leadership, highlighting the significance of the nation’s democratic transition.

Continuing their commitment to transformative change, Faye and Sonko has vowed to reassess the terms of the CFA, a currency backed by France, and renegotiate Senegal’s contracts with foreign-owned companies involved in the extraction of their newly discovered oil and gas reserves.

Their pledge is said to signa a departure from traditional economic models, to reemphasize Senegal’s sovereignty and equitable partnerships with foreign entities.

During his inaugural speech, President Faye reaffirmed Senegal’s commitment to international relations grounded in mutual respect and cooperation. He emphasized the importance of maintaining partnerships that align with the aspirations to offer Senegalese people with respecting the nation’s sovereignty – a desire echoed by Prime Minister Sonko.

Prime Minister Sonko of Senegal

The duo’s vision for economic reform and sovereignty has resonated strongly with the youth population both domestically and across the region.

Diomaye Faye, the president’s uncle, highlighted the solidarity among youth in Senegal and neighbouring countries, particularly regarding issues of sovereignty and economic empowerment.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, President Faye was escorted to the Presidential Palace in a motorcade, symbolizing the commencement of his tenure.

Shortly before then, a notable meeting between Faye, Sonko and former President Macky Sall showcased a spirit of reconciliation and cooperation, signaling a united front in steering Senegal towards a new era of progress and prosperity.

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