Senegal music icon Youssou Ndour appointed culture minister

DAKAR (AFP) – Senegalese superstar Youssou Ndour has been appointed the country’s new tourism and culture minister in President Macky Sall’s cabinet, according to a decree issued on Wednesday night.

The Grammy-award winning singer, a fierce critic of former leader Abdoulaye Wade who hung up his microphone to campaign for Sall, forms part of a slimmed down government of 25 people appointed by Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye.

One of Africa’s most recognized artists, Ndour sent shockwaves through the music industry when he announced in January he was giving up performing to run for president amid rising tension over the incumbent’s bid for a third term in office.

However shortly afterwards the country’s constitutional council rejected his candidacy on the grounds that he had failed to provide enough valid signatures to back his application.

The same court ruling validated Wade’s contentious candidacy, sparking deadly riots as anger grew over the 85-year old’s plans to rule for another seven year term.

Ndour jumped to the forefront of an opposition campaign to unseat Wade and was often seen at protests addressing the crowd, or making an appearance as rocks and tear gas flew.

When Macky Sall emerged as the most likely candidate to beat Wade, and 12 failed candidates threw their weight behind him, Ndour too hit the campaign trail for the opposition candidate, going as far as the restive Casamance to lobby for him.

Sall won the election on March 25 with a crushing 66 percent, and when he entered the presidential palace as the nation’s new leader on Monday, Ndour was there as they watched Wade leave power.

“It is a great day for Senegal, a great day for Africa… now we can get to work! I am very happy, very moved. It is democracy which has won,” the Grammy-winner said.

Sall appointed allies in key positions such as home affairs, justice, foreign affairs, communication and education.

Banker Amadou Kane, former head of the Senegalese branch of French bank BNP was named minister of the economy.

Well-known ecologist of Lebanese origin Ali Haidar, who has been heavily involved in the protection of the marine environment, was named minister of ecology.

Posted by on Apr 20 2012. Filed under Artcultainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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