Thu, 02 Apr 2020

A West African political activist who set fire to a banknote in an "anti-colonialist" protest has been expelled from Senegal, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Kemi Seba, born in France to parents from Benin, had arrived at Dakar's international airport on Sunday ahead of an appeal against his acquittal for the protest.

In August 2017, Seba set fire to a 5 000 CFA franc note, worth $8.2, as part of a protest at "Francafrique", the term for France's post-colonial meddling in Africa.

The case went to court following a complaint by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).

Seba was acquitted, but the prosecutors filed an appeal.

That case was to have been heard on Monday but was adjourned to April 27, Seba's lawyer Cheikh Khouraissi Ba said, adding that his client was bundled onto a plane to Brussels late on Monday.

Seba, whose real name is Stellio Capo Chichi, was also ordered to leave Senegal after his first trial - the government had declared him "a serious threat to public order" and cited his "disparaging remarks" aimed at African leaders.

The move sparked condemnation from rights groups.

Senegal acquits activist for burning cash in anti-colonial protest

Seba, who set up the Urgences Panafricanistes movement, had launched a campaign against the CFA franc, which his Facebook page described as "an economic and political scandal of the colonial establishment which is killing our people".

The currency, created in 1945, is today pegged to the euro and used in eight West African countries, seven of which are former French colonies.

A similar currency of the same name is used by six states in central Africa, although they are not technically interchangeable.

On December 21, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara announced the eight-nation CFA would be renamed the Eco and its members would no longer have to lodge reserves in France - a condition that activists have long criticised as neo-colonial.

France will also quit the currency's managerial institutions, although it will provide a line of credit to provide support in the event of a monetary crisis, Ouattara said.

Seba has also had brushes with the law in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Guinea over perceived slights to their leaders, while France has sentenced him several times for incitement to racial hatred.

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