He lit the flame of a currency protest across much of Francophone region in West Africa. He burnt a 5000 CFA note in Senegal and was arrested and charged with destroying property belonging to the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).
A Dakar court will go on to rule days later that Kemi Seba full name Stellio Giles Robert Capochichi be released on a technicality. That the laws punished a person who destroys bank notes not a bank note.
Young people in parts of West Africa (especially his native Benin) will burn notes in support of Kemi Seba – who had thrust the debate about a colonial currency used across West and Central Africa into the spotlight.
The 35-year-old is Africanews’ 2017 Personality of the year garnering an overwhelming 63% in a Twitter poll beating off three other competitors. West Africa political bloc, ECOWAS; Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga and Ethiopian human rights advocate Yetnebersh Nigussie who ended with 20%, 8% and 9% respectively.
#2017 is coming to an end and it is time to recognize our #African Personality of the Year. Who among these four will you go for and why? ?— africanews (@africanews) December 25, 2017
About the ‘colonial currency’ known as the CFA
The CFA, abbreviation for Communauté Financière Africaine (African financial community) or the Coopération Financière en Afrique (financial cooperation in Africa) – is a currency used across fourteen West and Central African countries. It was introduced by France to its then colonies in 1945.
As a legal tender, it has backing from the French treasury and was previously pegged to the French franc but now to the euro. It comes in two variations, the type used across West Africa and the Central Africa type.
Persons who back Seba in calling for its scrapping consider it a colonial relic that ties African countries to France after decades of independence. Financial analysts say countries using the CFA have to refer to France on specific economic decisions.