Senegal: President Faye's Anti-Colonial Stance At Variance With Local Opposition

10 April 2024

Ranga Mataire — The recent electoral victory by an opposition figure in Senegal saw some local opposition desperately attempting to appropriate his triumph as theirs.

This attempted appropriation was more rampant on social media, where opposition figures gushed superlatives in praise of the new Senegalese leader, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who beat a ruling party candidate, former Prime Minister Amadou Ba.

An utter incongruent appropriation, others would say. It is incongruent for local opposition to try and appropriate President Faye as theirs because the two (Senegal's leader and local opposition) bear diametrically opposed ideological positions.

In fact, the 44-year-old Senegalese leader would find it repulsive that a Zimbabwean opposition that identifies itself with the West (read as former colonial powers) was attempting to appropriate his victory as theirs.

Let's look at what the new Senegalese President represents and what local opposition from the MDC, MDC Alliance and CCC represents.

For starters, President Diyomaye Faye is a radical left-wing Pan-Africanist who ran an anti-colonial campaign that resonated well with the majority Senegalese who felt hard done by the country's long subservient relations with former colonial power, France.

And President Faye's ideological grounding was not born in colonial barracks to a father serving a minority colonial administration. His father was a long-time member of the Socialist Party of Senegal. His grandfather was once jailed after a dispute with French colonial authorities over his efforts to establish a district high school in Ndiangano, which his grandson Faye later attended.

In his own words, Faye has said he believes in Pan-Africanism and would want to restore Senegal's sovereignty. He has vowed to fight the "French economic stranglehold" over his country and wants to distance Senegal from Western powers.

Surely, it's disingenuous for the local opposition whose opposition leader is thoroughly brainwashed and colonised to the extent of despising the country's national symbols like the Zimbabwean bird found on our national flag.

It is dishonest of the highest order to try to draw parallels between a local opposition, which has campaigned for the imposition of sanctions on the country for reclaiming its land and the opposition that has claimed power in Senegal. The two are incongruent.

Like what one analyst said, it is manifestly clear from what President Faye said in his inauguration speech that he is "an ideologically solid, articulate and progressive African nationalist par excellence with a generational difference rooted in the African experience."

Indeed, as the analyst said, it's opportunistic and outrageous propaganda to equate him with self-indulgent, content-free and ideologically bankrupt local opposition members.

Besides being age-mates with some local opposition leaders, there is nothing that aligns them to warrant appropriation. Zimbabwe's opposition suffers from a perennial problem of aligning themselves with foreign forces whose main interest is to install a pliable regime with no attachment with the country's liberation struggle.

President Faye's ideological ground reminds one of African trailblazers like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Patrice Lumumba, Jomo Kenyatta, Amilcar Cabral, Sekou Toure, Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo, Augstino Neto, Robert Mugabe, Samora Machel and Sam Nujoma.

Zimbabwean opposition have never made it a secret that their ultimate wish is to negate any lineage or emotional attachment citizens might have with the nationalist liberation project.

Since the inception of the MDC in 1999, which has since split into numerous entities, its leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai aligned with white commercial farmers. The white farmers returned the favour by publicly declaring their allegiance to the opposition party.

While the majority celebrated the return of land to indigenes through the revolutionary land redistribution exercise, it appears the opposition was commiserating with white commercial farmers whose land was earmarked for compulsory distribution.

Even after Tsvangirai's death, the opposition has continued to acquiesce itself with foreign interests by identifying with organisations that promote white interests and are anti-liberation movements, most of which are ruling parties in southern Africa.

Such an organisation is the Brenthurst Foundation, in which Tendai Biti is a senior fellow together with Musi Maimane of South Africa and Bobby Wine of Uganda. The foundation's main funders are Nick and Jonathan Oppenheimer, South African billionaires. The Oppenheimers are the major funders of the Democratic Alliance (DA) of South Africa.

Everyone knows that the DA is an anti-liberation party whose aim is to return the country to white apartheid rulers. Together with Zimbabwe's local opposition, they represent a retrogressive group aiming to roll-back the liberation map in South Africa.

It is inconceivable that President Faye would find any common ground with the DA or the CCC or many of its offshoots. He would definitely frown at individuals who are puppets of Western colonial interests.

It's even worse for the former CCC leader, Nelson Chamisa, who has publicly said that his chief adviser is God, literally telling his supporters that he is beyond reproach or any kind of criticism.

He recently told the Voice of America that he took advice from God. "People make the mistake of thinking I do things as an individual," he said, noting "I have one chief adviser . . . the Holy Spirit is a powerful adviser."

He confuses age with ideology and thinks that Zimbabweans should just vote for him even when it's clear he is bereft of any alternative policy thrusts.

Until the local opposition can reinvent itself from being pliable instruments of neo-colonial interests, they must forget dreaming about being at the apex national leadership of Zimbabwe. Instead, they need to learn something from President Bassirou Diomaye Faye who ran an election with a clear ideological stance and clear policy alternatives from President Macky Sall's party. And for context, President Diomaye Faye's party is called African Patriots of Senegal for Labour, Ethics and Fraternity (Patriotes Africains du Senegal pour le Travail, I'Ethique et la Fraternite; (PASTEF). The distinction between the CCC and PASTEF is as clear as day and night. CCC had no structures or constitution. It was literally a one-man band when Chamisa campaigned during harmonised elections.

There is no one who is serious about assuming national leadership who personalises a political party in the manner that Chamisa did. Even the day he disowned the CCC, senior party members only got to know about it on social media, just like everyone else.

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