Senegal: The Facebook post that continues to cost candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye his freedom and his constitutional right to campaign

Some might think it’s a joke and that in no democratic country would a Senegalese government official be arrested after 10 PM without a warrant, let alone held without trial for almost a year for what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations adopted on December 10, 1948, considers a right in its Article 19: freedom of opinion and expression.

In a message posted on Facebook on April 12, 2023, Bassirou Diomaye Faye pointed the finger at certain Senegalese judiciary officials in their handling of the defamation trial between the leader of Pastef, Ousmane Sonko, and Mame Mbaye Niang, comparing it to the French magistrates’ union. The recent events of February 2024 will ultimately vindicate Bassirou Diomaye Faye, now a candidate in the presidential elections. And it’s undoubtedly the prophetic aspect of his words that led to his arrest. He spoke out loud what many had already observed: the politicization of justice to eliminate a political rival like Ousmane Sonko and stay in power. It wasn’t the first time under Macky Sall’s regime. Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall had already been victims.

For daring to say out loud what many thought quietly, Bassirou Diomaye Faye has lost his freedom since April 14, 2023, his right to campaign like the 18 other candidates selected by the Constitutional Council, and on March 10, his airtime on Senegal’s public television and radio stations.

“Considering that the National Council for Audiovisual Regulation noted that the airtime of candidate Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye was used by someone other than the candidate himself, it is decided that the airtime of candidate Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye on March 10, 2024, is not broadcasted,” CNRA declared in a statement released on March 10, 2024.

According to the CNRA, “The airtime on public radio and television, provided to candidates for the presidential election of March 24, 2024, is three (03) minutes per day per candidate, from Sunday, March 10, 2024, at 00:00 to Friday, March 22, 2024, at midnight.”

The CNRA, which established the order of candidates’ appearance by drawing lots to “ensure fairness and transparency in the electoral process,” is the same organization that refuses to broadcast Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s message. He is still detained and was represented by his spokesperson, Amadou Ba.

Members of Senegalese civil society denounced his arrest in 2023. Today, members of the Coalition Diomaye President demand his release so that he may have the same rights as the 18 other candidates selected by the Constitutional Council.


Below is the translation of Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s Facebook post:


President Ousmane Sonko has until April 29, 2023, to appeal. This deadline is still running, but magistrates decided to try him before the expiration of this time limit, set by law.

In other words, they denied him the right to appeal a decision condemning him. Still, they recognized this same right to the opposing party composed of Mame Mbaye Niang and the Prosecutor, who, moreover, remains an intruder in this procedure.

It is a trial against President Ousmane Sonko’s eligibility —no more, no less. In this perspective, the urgency and haste noted reflect a desire to deliver the order, hic et nunc, to the prince whose hesitant gaze is fixed on the deadline of February 25, 2024.

Certain magistrates, a tiny minority, have given themselves the mission of slaughtering, dismembering, and serving fresh meat of political opponents to President Macky Sall so that he can decide, according to his manias and phobias, in what sauce he would like to eat them.

This behavior, which harms democratic and inclusive political competition and civil peace in Senegal, must stop.

In any case, strength will remain with the truth and with the people if they do not want to be subjected, by force, for decades and decades.





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