Senegal's President Faye appoints Ousmane Sonko as prime minister

By Melissa Chemam with RFI
APR 3, 2024 LISTEN

In Senegal, in his first act as leader, President Bassirou Diomaye Faye  has appointed by his ally and key backer Ousmane Sonko as prime minister.

Sonko, 49, has been the fiercest opponent of former President Macky Sall for the past three years, and the founder of the Pastef Party, dissolved last July but still active as a banner for Faye and Sonko.

He is also very popular among the West African nation's youth.

In January, Sonko had to give up on running for president himself when he was barred from the 24 March election because of a conviction for defamation after six months of convoluted legal battles.

He denies any wrongdoing.
Campaigning jointly under the slogan "Diomaye is Sonko," Sonko urged supporters to vote for his top lieutenant, Faye, who ultimately won with over 54% of the vote in the first round.

Faye was inaugurated president on Tuesday.

Speaking after his appointment, Sonko said he would present Faye with a full list of proposed ministerial appointments for his approval.

"There will be no question of leaving him alone to assume this heavy responsibility", Sonko added.

"I measure the importance of the trust he (President Faye) has placed in me,” Ousmane Sonko told the Senegalese public media RTS, thanking him and guaranteeing his “loyalty” and “dedication”.

A new generation of politicians

Faye, a 44-year-old pan-Africanist has become the youngest leader ever in charge of Senegal, and the youngest currently in power in Africa.

He has never held elected office before.
Faye's campaign was launched whilst he and Sonko were still in detention.

They were part of a group of political opponents freed from prison ten days before the 24 March presidential poll under an amnesty announced by Sall, a month after the latter had tried to delay the vote.   

Both Faye and Sonko are practising Muslims from humble backgrounds, representing a new generation of youthful politicians.

 (with newswires)