From a Jail Cell to the Presidential Palace

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President Bassirou Diomaye Faye is not only Senegal’s youngest elected president but also the youngest democratically elected president in Africa. At 44- years old there is a lot of expectation resting on Faye and his mentor Ousmane Sonko as they take the reins after an election run-up that was nothing short of dramatic. Since 2021, protests against former president Macky Sall have left more than 60 people dead and hundreds of political activists jailed.  Faye is expected to strengthen the eroded democratic institutions in Senegal that allowed Sall to attempt an unconstitutional bid to sustain his party’s hold on the presidency and that built conditions to repress dissent in the country.

Hawa Ba, Associate Director of Core Partners in Open Society Foundations, joins Mvemba to share her impressions from the tumultuous election. As the only West African country that has not experienced a coup, Senegal is a beacon of hope that alternative forms of power and governance can be achieved through elections.