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Senegal President Sall tells PM to scrap his own post

Sunday April 7 2019

Senegalese President Macky Sall. FILE | NATON

Senegalese President Macky Sall. FILE | NATON MEDIA GROUP 

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Senegal's prime minister has announced that President Macky Sall had instructed him to launch reforms that will include the scrapping of his own job.

The reforms would include "the suppression of the intermediary level of prime minister", said Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, who Sall had just reappointed to the post.

The aim is to bring the administration closer to the people to speed up reforms so they had more impact, said Dionne, speaking from the presidential palace, as Sall moves Senegal, which has been seen as a democratic model in Africa, towards a more presidential system under a programme of ambitious reforms.


Dionne was also named as secretary general of the Republic, according to a presidential decree read out on national television.

Once the prime minister's post has disappeared, Dionne said he would continue in this second role.

"The idea is to reduce the bottlenecks so that information can be circulated more easily," and to allow the reforms to have "more impact on the people", Dionne said in his televised comments.

The outgoing secretary general, Maxime Jean Simon Ndiaye, also explained the changes live on television.

President Sall, he said, had "judged it appropriate to reconsider the intermediary level" of the function of prime minister. He wanted, as president, to be in direct contact with the administrative levels of government applying the law, said Ndiaye.

Sall, 57, took office this week for his second term as president after comfortably winning re-election.

He garnered 58 percent of the vote, well clear of former prime minister Idrissa Seck on 20 percent with the rest of the pack left trailing, to win easily in a single round of voting on February 24.

But that was after the authorities prevented several opposition candidates from standing for misuse of public funds, including Karim Wade, the son of presidential predecessor Abdoulaye Wade (2000-12), as well as popular Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall.


The opposition, outraged by these disqualifications, has so far shown no sign of wanting to grasp any olive branch Sall might extend.

For his second term in office, Sall has said he wants to help young people find training and jobs and to promote "the entrepreneurial spirit and new technologies".

He has also promised to commit to "public policies favouring women and girls", ensure "decent housing" for all and "safeguard the environment".

Sall's re-election also promises a major public works initiative including a new international airport, a new town outside Dakar and a regional fast trains system.

A self-proclaimed social liberal -- despite a flirtation with Maoism in his youth -- Sall has described, in his autobiography published last November, a slow, steady rise from a modest background all the way to the top, despite a stint in the political wilderness.

But critics argue that such single-mindedness has made Sall willing to bend the rules to get what he wants.

There was no immediate opposition reaction to the announcement of the suppression of the prime ministerial post.