Senegal’s Diomaye Faye wins the Presidency 2 weeks after release from prison!

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Bassirou Diomaye Faye (centre) with his election team in Senegal

Senegal’s 44-year-old opposition leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye was named the country’s next president on Tuesday morning, after winning the country’s presidential election on Sunday less than two weeks after being released from prison to run in the election.

Millions took part in the vote on Sunday, following three years of turbulence and opposition protests against the incumbent, Macky Sall.
The ruling coalition’s choice, Amadou Ba, had initially denied that he had lost but on Tuesday conceded defeat to his rival.
Forty-four-year-old Faye, a senior official in the Pastef party led by Ousmane Sonko, had been in jail until 10 days before the vote.
Sonko was disqualified from the race because of a defamation conviction, which he said was politically motivated.
The first set of results announced on television showed Faye had won the majority of votes, triggering widespread street celebrations in the capital, Dakar.
Sonko backed Faye, the co-founder of his Pastef party, who was also detained almost a year ago.
They had campaigned together under the banner ‘Diomaye is Sonko’.
Sall, the former President, was not on the ballot for the first time since 2012. His ruling coalition picked Ba, a former prime minister.
About 7.3 million people were registered to vote in the country of around 18 million.
The election had been due to take place last month but Sall postponed it, triggering deadly opposition protests.
Meanwhile Malawi urgently needs more than $200 million in humanitarian assistance, the president Lazarus Chakwera said as he declared a state of emergency on Monday in most of the country’s provinces over drought.
Malawi has declared a state of disaster in 23 out of the country’s 28 districts.
Previously on Saturday, Chakwera announced that 2 million farming households have been affected by the El Nino-induced dry spells and need food.
Brighton Mphinga, the Disaster Risk Management Officer for Neno district anticipates more humanitarian assistance following the presidential announcement.
‘The food you have seen we are distributing today is for the season that we are in, but there is an additional type of hunger that we are facing because of the dry spell we have experienced.
‘For Neno, it has been hit hard. So, the president’s declaration means other people are going to come in now, lifting the hand of government where it wasn’t necessarily able to do it. People are going to come because of that declaration.’
The ‘Presidential Initiative to Stop Hunger’ calls out to locals and the international community.
Around 600,000 metric tons of food aid are needed.
Malawi has been repeatedly hit by extreme weather in recent years.
Neighbouring Zambia declared a national disaster in late February.

  • South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has failed in a legal bid to stop a newly formed party, backed by ex-President Jacob Zuma, from running in May’s general election.

The uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party takes its name from the now-disbanded armed wing of the ANC.
It is thought that Mr Zuma’s backing of the MK could affect the ANC’s support.
The electoral court rejected the ANC’s argument that the party had not met the official registration criteria.
Supporters of MK, dressed in green, danced in celebration outside the court after the ruling was read out.
The ANC has also instigated separate legal proceedings against the MK party, accusing it of copyright infringement.
Some opinion polls are predicting that the ANC’s vote share could fall below 50 per cent for the first time in three decades in the 29th May election.
Zuma appears to be drawing some support away from the party that has governed the country since 1994, especially in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma once served in the ANC’s MK, which was formed to help in the fight against apartheid and white-minority rule.
He was South Africa’s president for nine years from 2009, but forced from power and replaced by current President Cyril Ramaphosa in part over corruption allegations, which Zuma denies.
Following his backing of the MK party, the ANC accused Zuma of debasing the ‘proud history of armed struggle against the apartheid regime’ through the ‘opportunistic use of military symbolism’.
They also said the MK only exists to ‘erode the support base of the ANC’.

  • A month-long general strike in Chad ended on Monday after trade union leaders stated that they had won concessions from the government of President Mahamat Déby.

The general strike was over the military government increasing the price of fuel by 40 per cent in the middle of February and the coming to an end of the three year social pact between some trade unions and the government without many agreed actions having been implemented. Indefinite strikes were also held more briefly in the education and health sectors from mid-March.
Trade unions and civil society called on all workers in both the public and private sectors to stop working in protest against the fuel price increase and the non-implementation of agreed actions by the government.
These included payment of transport arrears, registration for social insurance and the end of the freeze on promotions.
The general strike was initially called for six days. On Monday, February 26 as this deadline expired, the Federation of Trade Unions of Chad (UST) called for an indefinite general strike from 11th March.
The general strike paralysed economic activities and essential public services such as hospitals, urban transport, schools and local businesses.
Speaking on Sunday before the end of the general strike, Brahim Ben Seid, Secretary general of the Free Confederation of Workers of Chad, said: ‘The strike is well followed in the public sector: schools are closed, health centres are closed, public officials have left their workplaces.
‘I believe that the strike is 100 per cent supported by public sector workers.’
‘It is the poor that suffer the consequences of this price increase.
‘This general strike is nothing other than the result of a unilateral decision by the government which no longer cares about social issues.
‘Today, the cities are completely paralysed, all activities are slowed down and after all, it is the average citizen who supports the strike.’
The agreement signed between the government and some trade unions in October 2021 remains to be implemented; the trade union leaders previously stated that ‘of the 63 points, only 8 are fully implemented and 33 partially implemented’.
In addition, the minimum wage has not been increased since 2011.
The Free Confederation of Workers of Chad has said if the remaining points are not made, including a demand for cheaper fuel; it will re-ballot its members on further strike action.

  • Lawmakers in Togo have adopted a new constitution that will see the country shift from a presidential to parliamentary system of governance.

Executive power will rest with the prime minister, reducing the presidency to a symbolic role.
Under the new system, the president will be selected by parliament for a single six-year term, rather than being voted by the public.
Opposition parties boycotted Togo’s previous elections and are poorly represented in Togo’s parliament.
As a result, this new constitution change was approved almost unanimously on Monday – with only one legislator voting against and one other abstaining from the vote.
It is unclear if the new system will be in force when the West African country holds regional and legislative elections next month.
In 2019, Togolese lawmakers approved a constitutional change that introduced a two-term presidential limit.
As the 2019 constitutional change did not apply retrospectively, President Faure Gnassingbé, who has ruled Togo since 2005, was eligible to contest two more terms.