For the first time in six years of activist life, Mabinta Djiba dares to openly say that his “leaders” are on the wrong track. The trained teacher, loyal to Pastef (African Patriots of Senegal for work, ethics and fraternity), the party founded by President Bassirou Diomaye Faye and Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko, is alarmed at the little space made to women by the new Senegalese executive. Among the 25 ministers appointed on April 5, there are only four.

“As if we don’t have women as capable as men!” », laments this elected representative from Pastef in Bignona (south), imprisoned twice in the last years of Macky Sall’s mandate; a first time in Dakar, in 2021, with 17 other activists, and the second in March 2023, after defending Ousmane Sonko’s children, banned from school due to their father’s imprisonment.

Barely 18% of the positions of senior civil servants and heads of state companies announced during three waves of appointments are occupied by women. “There is an imbalance that is growing,” laments a leader of Mojip, the Pastef women’s movement. The words are measured, but the anger expressed marks a rupture in a party known to be united around its leaders.


“Pastef reflects society and other Senegalese parties. He complied with the law on parity for local elections without further pushing for the feminization of positions internally. There are very few women at the top of the movement,” underlines Alassane Ndao, political science researcher at Gaston-Berger University in Saint-Louis. Faced with this beginning of rebellion, a list of women’s names was sent to the executive duo with a view to the next appointments, according to several sources within Pastef.

But the criticisms that emerge internally do not only relate to parity: the opacity which surrounded certain appointments is surprising, while Pastef has made transparency one of its hobbyhorses. “What about tenders? », calls out a party activist, in reference to repeated promises to open public service positions to applications. The “Diomaye President” program, which served as the basis for the Pastef campaign, in fact promoted a reform of the “recruitment method” in the administration, which would notably involve a “systematic call for applications”.

Although a draft decree and a draft law on “access to the civil service, to jobs and functions in the administration” were discussed on April 17 in the Council of Ministers, no timetable has been set. “For the moment, this is not the priority,” says a close friend of the president, “even if we want to move towards transparency and the end of nepotism.” A practice associated, among Pastef supporters, with former president Macky Sall. In a book published in 2017, Ousmane Sonko, then a land inspector and trade unionist, notably accused the brother of the former president, Aliou Sall, of being responsible for embezzlement and tax fraud.

For the supporters of the new power, there is an urgent need to stifle the denial trials. “We cannot put the country on hold to launch calls for applications,” explains Ibrahima Diallo, communications manager at Pastef. We place men in whom we trust to manage emergencies and we must ensure the continuity of the State. »

Loved ones and allies

While the formation of a government built on skills had been welcomed, the latest batch of appointments at the head of public companies, Wednesday May 15, left more than one editorialist speechless. A doctor, an executive from Pastef, was thus appointed to manage the National Lottery, and it was a teaching unionist who was appointed to manage the company managing the infrastructure of the new town of Diamniadio. “They are caught between two fires: on one side citizen control, which calls for respect for campaign promises, on the other the aspirations of their supporters and allies, who wish to be associated with the exercise of power,” notes Elimane Haby Kane, public policy analyst.

With the exception of the secretary general of the presidency, who retained his title after the transfer of power between Macky Sall and Bassirou Diomaye Faye, it is relatives and political allies of the executive tandem who now occupy the key positions at the top of the presidency. ‘State. Men like Ousmane Sonko’s head of security, Waly Diouf Bodian, appointed head of the Autonomous Port of Dakar, or Habib Sy, candidate in the last presidential election and supporter of Pastef, appointed director of Senelec, the national electricity company.

It remains to fill the strategic functions of the customs directorates, the Treasury and, above all, the General Directorate of Taxes and Lands (DGID), the original body of the president, the Prime Minister and their opponent in the presidential election, the former -head of government Amadou Ba.