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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 16:24 GMT
Senegal PM sacked over ferry disaster
Upturned hull of the Joola
Mame Madior Boye initially blamed the weather

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has sacked the prime minister and the rest of the government.

Many observers believe the dismissal of Mrs Mame Madior Boye is linked to the government's handling of the loss of the Joola ferry with more than 1,000 people on board, in September.

President Abdoulaye Wade
Wade immediately blamed those operating the ferry
A full technical inquiry into the loss of the Joola is due to be submitted to the presidency and is believed to contain damning evidence of serious shortcomings in the running of the ferry service.

The dismissal of Mame Madior Boye, the first woman prime minister in Senegal's history, comes after weeks of speculation regarding her political future.

Seen as a technocrat, appointed partly because of her lack of political allegiance, Mrs Madior Boye has been the target of strong criticism by sections of the Senegalese media and the country's political class.

Often overshadowed by a highly charismatic and sometimes authoritarian president, Mrs Madior Boye has often looked ill at ease in the prime ministerial role.

Harsh weather

She came under strong attack in September when, with Mr Wade out of the country, it was the prime minister who broke the news that the Joola ferry had been lost at sea.

Mrs Madior Boye said at the time that the capsizing of the Joola was due to harsh weather conditions, ruling out any problems with the boat itself.

Grieving relatives
Many of the ferry victims were young children

That statement was rapidly challenged, as were the initial casualty figures provided by the prime minister.

Two ministers have since resigned over the loss of the Joola.

A commission of inquiry has submitted a full report on the ferry disaster to President Wade, and its details are expected to be announced shortly.

It seems likely that the dismissal of Mrs Madior Boye and the dissolution of her government are strongly linked to the findings of the commission.

A top presidential aide, Idrissa Seck, has announced he had been named prime minister.


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15 Oct 02 | Africa
02 Oct 02 | Africa
20 Mar 00 | Africa
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