Two first ladies at presidential palace in a Senegal first

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In the closing moments of the electoral campaign, Senegal’s president-elect, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, stepped onto the stage holding the hands of both his wives Marie and Absa.

It was an unprecedented sight in the national politics of the West African country and a clear choice by the first-round winner who promises radical change. Polygamy is a traditional and religious practice firmly anchored in the culture of Senegal where the overwhelming majority is Muslim.

Marie Khone, who until now had never been in the spotlight, comes from the same village as 44-year-old Faye. They married 15 years ago and have four children. He married his second wife Absa just over a year ago.

“It’s the ultimate recognition of the tradition of polygamy at the top of the state, with a situation that will reflect Senegalese reality,” sociologist Djiby Diakhate said.

Many men praise the practice while women tend to remain “mistrustful”, he added.

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