A Dakar avenue named after Faidherbe, a French colonial figure in West Africa, was renamed on Sunday after Senegalese President Macky Sall in his presence, an AFP journalist noted.
A ceremony in honour of the Head of State was held in the heart of the Senegalese capital, in the presence of numerous dignitaries and the Prime Minister and candidate of his camp's coalition for the 2024 presidential election, Amadou Ba.
The decision to rename the street was taken in mid-July to pay tribute to President Sall, "an illustrious statesman, leader and outstanding builder", at the instigation of the mayor of the Dakar-Plateau district, Alioune Ndoye, who is also Minister for the Environment.
Elected in 2012 for seven years and re-elected in 2019 for five years, Mr Sall announced on 3 July that he would not seek another term in the presidential election of February 2024.
This decision eased the heavy political climate in Senegal, but tensions have persisted ever since. Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who has been detained since the end of July, is on "hunger strike" and is currently in intensive care in a Dakar hospital.
On Friday, an executive from the party of this opponent, Amadou Ba (no relation to the Prime Minister, editor's note), was arrested. "He is still at the research section, where the gendarmes have not yet informed him of the reasons for his arrest", his lawyer Ciré Clédor Ly said on Sunday.
The renaming of streets with names referring to France's colonial history is a topical issue in Senegal. The Senegalese city of Saint-Louis, which was the first settlement founded south of the Sahara by France in the 17th century, had already renamed Place Faidherbe in September 2020 to give it a local name.
Louis Léon César Faidherbe (1818-1889) is honoured in France as a military figure who saved the north of the country from Prussian invasion during the 1870-1871 war.
The Senegalese regard him as the man who led the French colonial enterprise as governor in the 1850s and 1860s, blaming him in particular for violent colonial campaigns, killings and the destruction of villages.