Drama unfolded at the National Assembly of Senegal last week during the election of Speaker (President) of the former French colony’s 14th Legislature when the ruling coalition Benno Bokk Yaakaar, elected Dr. Amadou Mame Diop as Speaker instead of their head of Campagne Mrs. Aminata Mimi Toure, former Prime Minister and one-time minister of Justice of Senegal.
A disappointed Mimi Toure walked out of the National Assembly in a sad mode and refused to participate in the election of a Speaker. This came following President Macky Sall’s decision to choose Dr. Amadou Mame Diop as a candidate for Benno Bokk Yaakaar coalition to contest as Speaker instead of Mimi Toure who was head of the list.
Here is how it happened!
After the election, Benno Bokk Yaakaar won 82 seats in Parliament while the opposition combined won 83 seats. The leader of Bokk Guiss Guiss Mr. Pape Diop, a former Mayor of Dakar publicly announced his support for the Coalition Benno Bokk Yaakaar at the National Assembly, which he described as a move he took in the interest of national development. He made this announcement weeks before the opening of the 14th Legislative session (12th September 2022). This means Benno Bokk Yaakaar now has an edge over the entire opposition parties combined.
The Benno Bokk Yaakaar Coalition headed by Aminata Toure held a meeting at a local hotel in Saly, a suburb of Mbour, about 70 kilometers away from the Senegalese capital city Dakar.
Among the leaders of the Benno Bokk Yaakaar Coalition present at the meeting in Saly were; Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo, Amadou Ba, newly appointed Prime Minister, Aminata Toure, Aly Ngoiue Ndiaye, newly appointed minister of Agriculture, Farba Ngom, Mayor of Angam and Member of Parliament Benno Bokk Yaakaar, Dr. Mlaick Diop, former director general of ASEPEX now Member of Parliament under AFP (Benno Bokk Yaakaar), Amadou Mame Diop, current Speaker of the Parliament, Ismaila Madior Fall, newly appointed minister of Justice, Abdoulaye Seydou Sowe (Minister and Mayor of Kaffrine), Oumar Sarr (Minister), Abdou Mbow, Member of Parliament Benno Bokk Yaakaar, etc.
During this meeting, they all agreed to support whoever President Macky Sall chooses as Speaker of the National Assembly. Aminata Toure was present at the meeting and agreed to the decision until the following morning when they all converged at the National Assembly for the election of Speaker, as well as grace the first session of the 14th Legislature.
At around 9 am shortly before the start of the Parliamentary session marking the election of Speaker, Ismaila Madior Fall, the current minister of Justice, informed Aminata Mimi Toure that President Macky Sall has asked him to inform her that he has chosen Amadou Mame Diop as his candidate for Speaker.
Also, President Macky Sall personally phoned Mimi Toure and informed her of his latest decision. Mimi Toure got shocked at the decision and refused to accept the President’s nomination for Speaker. She felt disappointed because she was expecting to be selected by the president, to mark her new journey at the National Assembly not only as an elected Member but to record history by becoming the first-ever female Speaker of Senegal.
Her dreams of becoming the first Speaker obviously faded away. She decided to walk out of the Assembly during the chaos between the divided opposition groups and Benno Bokk Yaakaar coalition over some alleged malpractices in the election of the Speaker.
Hon. Farba Ngom, a close aide to President Macky Sall, who is also a Member of Parliament tried to calm Mimi and persuade her but she didn’t listen and she left. Farba Ngom then attempted to vote for Mimi Toure in her absence in support of their candidate Dr. Amadou Mame Diop but the other MPs rejected the idea.
Did President Macky Sall betray Mimi?
After the episode of the fracas and disappointment in the election of the Speaker, many people believed Mimi Toure has been disappointed by President Sall. This is obvious. Even a child would conclude that President Macky Sall disappointed Mimi Toure as she was hopeful of becoming the next Speaker.
But “the million dollars “ questions to ask are:
*Should Mimi Toure be surprised by this disappointment knowing the type of politics her boss Macky Sall plays?
*Did Mimi Toure forget about the experience or lessons learnt by her predecessor former Prime Minister Abdallah Bun Dion who was also head of Campaign in 2019 but was never chosen as Speaker, instead Moustapha Niasse continued to serve as Speaker?
*Did Mimi Toure forget how Macky Sall has played his political tactics to destroy and eliminate PS and PDS, (being parties that have been participating in every election since almost 40 years ago) from taking part in the 2019 presidential election to enable him easily win his second term?
*Did Mimi Toure remember the reason why Macky Sall sacked her, alongside Amadou Ba, the newly appointed Prime Minister, Abdallah Bun Dion, former Prime Minister, and Aly Ngoui Ndiaye, former Interior Minister, and newly appointed Agriculture just after the 2019 presidential election?
*Did Mimi Toure forget about President Macky Sall’s 3rd Term ambition? And unfortunately for her, Macky already knows she is against the 3rd Term bid.
*Did Mimi Toure forget that President Macky Sall is the most informed personality in Senegal by virtue of his position as President and experience in politics? A few days before the Assembly session, information was shared against President Sall’s 3rd Term ambition and allegations were made that Mimi Toure had discussed such in her office. This info (whether true or not) and many others reached the president’s desk.
*Did Mimi Toure know the confidence and trust that president Macky Sall has in the new Speaker Amadou Mame Diop and their family relations?
If Mimi Toure had put all these and many more factors into consideration, she would have not been surprised by this move even if she was promised the position.
Besides, she should have known that being the head of a campaign team does not necessarily make you the president’s choice for Speaker. It has happened before and she should have learned from it.
There is a saying in Wollof: “Burr Aayut Dapp Yaa Aaiyy“, meaning the King is not dangerous but his close aides are and unfortunately for Senegal, Macky Sall is a lucky political master (President) who was a close aide to his predecessor and has mastered the entire game of African politics beyond imagination.
Who is Dr. Amadou Mame Diop?
The new Speaker Dr. Amadou Mame Diop is a native of the Saint Louis region where he was born in July 1965. Dr. Diop obtained his Baccalaureate diploma in the D series in 1985 at the Lycée Charles De Gaulle.
This was followed by his Doctorate in Pharmacy, which he obtained at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar before flying to France to continue his studies.
Back home, he settled in Richard Toll where he opened his pharmacy. He joined president Macky Sall’s party Alliance for the Republic (APR) in 2008. Since 2012, Diop was the head of the departmental list of the Coalition Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) and won all elections in the department of Dagana until recently.
Dr. Diop was elected as Mayor of Richard Toll in 2014 until now, he has been able to achieve many infrastructures in his constituency such as the reconstruction of the Sermat Bridge which was an old complaint of the people of this locality.
He has been a Member of Parliament for the department of Dagana since 2012, a member of the parliamentary group of the BBY Coalition, and a member of the inter-departmental committee of the WAEMU Commission.
Dr. Diop was at one time appointed as the head of the General Management of the Company for the Development and Promotion of the Coasts and Tourist Zones of Senegal (SAPCO).
Dr. Diop is a cousin and a family member of the First Lady of Senegal Marieme Faye Sall. He was living at the family compound of Marieme Faye and her brother Minister Mansour Faye in Saint Louis while he was going to school. Reports also have it that he has named some of his children after both Marieme Faye Sall and her brother Mansour Faye.
Therefore, by virtue of his educational background, record in politics, experience in Parliament since 2012, and commitment to the APR which forms an integral part of Benno Bokk Yaakaar coalition, he deserves the appointment of Speaker just like any other candidate. Although President Sall chose him for reasons best known to him (perhaps his interests), either way, Dr. Diop is a fine gentleman who deserves the position too despite the family ties.
Mimi Toure reacted to the decision of Macky Sall by walking out of the Assembly in protest of her disappointment. She also granted an interview to TV5 Monde, a French television the same day in which she claimed Macky Sall was using family ties promoting what she described as “Neddo ko Bandum“, a Fula parlance meaning promoting ones family ties (bloodline). She also gave reasons for her decision to leave the Assembly on the grounds of principle and accused Macky Sall of failing to honour his promise to promote women empowerment by disappointing her, leaving her ambition of becoming the first female Speaker in the dark.
How has Macky empowered Mimi!
Mimi Toure served as Minister of Justice from 2013 to 2013 and later became Prime Minister from 2013 to 2014. She was later appointed as a Special Envoy of the President. Until recently she was the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council.
Currently, although she has begun to break up with Macky, she is still a serving Member of Parliament under Benno Bokk Yaakaar in the 14th Legislature.
Mimi Toure has now openly challenged Macky Sall’s 3rd Term bid and currently launching her own political movement today, Sunday, 25th September 2022. Her movement is called Mimi: meaning (Mouvement pour l’intégrité, le mérite et l’indépendance). She has planned to contest as a presidential candidate in 2024.
Mimi Toure was born in Kaolack and is living in Grand Yoff (Dakar) but has no political base. In Grand Yoff, the supporters she has do not form the majority and that is the same story in Kaolack too. Perhaps with the formation of her new movement, she will now work hard to get a strong political base.
At her movement’s launching today, Mimi said Macky Sall’s 3rd Term ambition is morally and legally impossible.
Did campaign history repeat itself?
In 2019, when former Prime Minister Abdallah Bun Dion was campaign head for Macky’s coalition, he was seen dancing to the Mbalax diva Fatou Gewel’s remix track of “Mbarass“, in anticipation of victory due to the large crowd that graced their campaign meeting. Little did Bun Dionne know that he was going to be fired after the election.
Coincidentally for Mimi Toure, on 14th July 2022 during the campaign ahead of the 31st July Parliamentary election, she held a meeting at Saint Louis in the hometown of her colleague the newly appointed Speaker Amadou Mame Diop, during which she danced the famous Senegalese mbalax queen Titi’s latest song “Guen Gui Deuk“ track of “Gentuma“, meaning I’m not dreaming.
This video was shared by Mimi Toure on her page following a successful campaign in anticipation of their victory. Indeed at this moment, both of them were dreaming of becoming the next Speaker.
And for Mimi, perhaps until that moment, she was dreaming of becoming the first female Speaker after the election if they win. Unknowing to her, Amadou Mame Diop who welcomed her with the song was also dancing alongside her while they both sitting in Mimi’s campaign car. Diop equally was already expecting the position, hence he was also expecting a reward from the president.
Indeed Mimi was dreaming and received the political shock of her life from Macky Sall.
Readers will recall that Senegal’s National Assembly has 165 Members, out of which, 150 are elected from the country and 15 are elected from the Diaspora regions.