Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Diomaye Faye: Senegal's tax inspector and former inmate headed for the presidential palace

Presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye attends a final campaign rally ahead of the presidential elections in Mbour, Senegal, Friday, March 22, 2024.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Mosa'ab Elshamy/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


The people of Senegal has chosen to break with the past by pinning their hopes on presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye.

A relatively unknown figure outside his opposition party Pastef until recently, Faye has managed an unlikely climb to the top.

Everything changed for him when firebrand party leader Ousmane Sonko, was convicted and barred from running in elections to succeed President Macky Sall.

Faye, a former tax inspector was arrested in April 2023 and charged with contempt of court and defaming magistrates, charges he had denied.

His arrest came a few months before his mentor was also held.

When Sonko's candidacy and eligibility grew uncertain several party members including Faye put their names forward.

Faye eventually made the cut while still in prison.

A coalition of more than 100 parties, and some political heavyweights including former prime minister Aminata Touré, joined Faye's campaign under the banner "Diomaye mooy Sonko", which in the local wolof language means "Diomaye is Sonko."

Ahead of Sunday's election, Faye published a declaration of his assets, and called on other candidates to do the same. It lists a home in Dakar, and land outside the capital and in his hometown. His bank accounts hold roughly $6,600.

When the father of four was released and reunited with his children and two wives, he hit the campaign trail with his mentor Ousmane Sonko.

Both crisscrossed their native Senegal, drawing thousands to their rallies and caravans.

As local vote-counting commissions progressively unveil preliminary results, 44-year-old Diomaye Faye is guaranteed to be Senegal's next president.

If his campaign was successful challenges lie ahead for the native of central Senegal.

Some critics have pointed to his inexperience in government affairs.

Faye has never held an elective position.

Still, his supporters believe he can successfully lead the country.

The former secretary general of the one-time dissolved Pastef pasty has vowed to improve the west African nation's control over its natural resources by promoting national companies to prevent the country from falling into what his campaign called “economic enslavement.”

When outlining some early foreign policy priorities, he included reforming the troubled regional bloc ECOWAS and advancing Africa's economic integration.

In 2004, the devout Muslim passed the competitive entrance exam to Senegal's National School of Administration which trains the former French colony's top civil servants, where he specialised as a tax inspector.

View more