Senegalese government initiated a nationwide food aid campaign under President Macky Sall to help citizens against COVID-19’s implications. There were controversies directed to Sall in terms of aids claiming that it is benefitted by “partizans and sympathisers”. Abou Mbaye leader of the commune Wakhinane Nimzatt denounced the Sall government of “favouritism” and “clientelistic”
Throughout April, Senegalese government under the Macky Sall administration, initiated the campaign of distribution of food kits as a part of combating the COVID-19 epidemic and minimize its socioeconomic implications. Rachel Coly, Secretary General of the Ministry of Community Development and Social Equity, informed in her press conference that, 888 trucks have been arranged including 35 Army trucks, 171 from the collective of transporters and 8 trucks from the Food Security Commission. (Diagne, 2020) Community targeting was the way to allocate the kits Coly claimed, the aids were calculated based on the datas regarding population and poverty indicators and the aids will be done under the supervision of the military, she added.
However, head of the commune of Wakhinane Nimzatt, Abou Mbaye, claimed that the distribution of food kits were “unfair” and “clientalistic-based”. In a press release, he denounced the APR (Alliance for the Republic) and stated that, great portion of this aid went to the sympathisers and militants of governments. He added the fact that there were many desperate households, which needed that aid to survive through the epidemic and combat the socioeconomic consequences. (Mansaray, 2020). Mbaye highlighted clientalism among the interest groups and the government and stated that this isn’t the time for political games and called the leaders to reason.
There was also the circumstance of lack of transparency in allocation of food kits throughout the Senegalese communes, towns and cities. Minister Mansour Faye was cornered by opposition parties, media and civil society in terms of transparency of the distribution. (Sakine 2020) “After exploitation, only suppliers with the required quantitative and qualitative capacities as well as the best financial offer were retained”(Sakine 2020) stated as his defence. There was an obvious favouritism and clientelism among the suppliers and the government, which highlighted when the government chose the sympathiser firms to supply the aid. When this favouritism and the allegation that the biggest beneficiary of the rice market was one of his close friends, (Sakine 2020) was stated minister Faye, threatened the journalist with legal procedures.
After the incidents the media apparatuses, opposition and civil society became more sceptical towards the food kits which were distributed by the government and supplied by its sympathisers. As Mbaye states, the favouritism and economic ties between the government and the firms, manufactures curtail the needs of the people and this time period of COVID-19 epidemic socioeconomically requires reason and cooperation.
Diagne, Diery. “Covid-19: Distribution of food kits begins Tuesday” Le Soleil, April 2020, http://lesoleil.sn/covid-19-la-distribution-des-kits-alimentaires-debute-mardi/
Mansaray, Abdou Latif. “Food aid for the town of Wakhinane Nimzatt: Reccu fal Macky denounces a “partisan and electoral” distribution” Le Quotiden, April 2020, https://www.lequotidien.sn/aide-alimentaire-pour-la-commune-de-wakhinane-nimzatt-reccu-fal-macky-denonce-une-distribution-partisane-et-electoraliste/
Sakine, Mamadou.”Food Aid Controversy – MANSOURD TO QUESTIONS: Arms pass and Minister’s threats against journalist” Le Quotiden, April 2020, https://www.lequotidien.sn/polemique-sur-laide-alimentaire-mansourd-aux-questions-passe-darmes-et-menaces-du-ministre-contre-un-journaliste/