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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Senegal: Has France lost another one?

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By JC Okechukwu

Senegal is one of five West African countries not to have experienced a coup d’état since its independence from France in 1960 and is generally considered a relatively stable democracy, until the events of recent days – when President Macky Sall began playing tricks with the collective destinies of his people by suddenly jailing opposition politicians and postponing an election that was billed for February, 2024.

This was what led to all that protest that has now become synonymous with Senegal. But what or who is Macky Sall afraid of? I’ll tell you…it’s Ousmane Sonko and whoever else is close to him and there’s a reason for this. To give you an idea, here’s what Euroreporter wrote about Sonko: “Opposition politician Sonko does not hide his ties and sympathies for Russia. Worrying news for Senegal: the Russians are sending their private armed groups into the country, as they did in Mali and Burkina Faso, in anticipation of the presidential elections.” (Dec 11, 2023).

In 2019 when President Macky Sall was seeking a second term in office, Moscow was openly accused by Sall’s entourage of planning to channel funds to Ousmane Sonko who was a serious challenger to the president in the February 24 elections of the coming year. The Russian mission in a press statement said the allegations circulated by the head of Senegalese expatriates, Sory Kaba, saying that Moscow will send “two suitcases of money” to endorse Sonko’s presidential campaign were baseless. “Revelations by Sory Kaba have nothing to do with the reality and are denied by the embassy in their entirety. We hope that Sory Kaba will refrain from his reckless move,” the statement said. Kaba in an endorsement statement for President Sall who was seeking another term in office, maintained that Sonko, 44, was receiving backing from Russian lobbies. Macky Sall’s ally also argued that he had reliable information that Sonko was to receive in 48 hours two suitcases stuffed with money via neighbouring Guinea Bissau and via the rebel region of Casamance.

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Sonko who has been campaigning against French influence in the West African country was reportedly being attacked by the ruling regime from all sides. Okay, that was 2019. Elections came and Sall remained in office. Fast forward to 2024. Obviously, Sonko resurfaced and became even more popular and stronger than before. The establishment forces led by Sall knew the days of their French paymasters were numbered and that it was only a matter of time. What did they do next? They conspired against Sonko and got him arrested in July of last year for, guess what? “Corrupting the youths!”

So, for having a cult following of Senegalese youths who, like Sonko, are more than fed up with France’s diabolic neo-colonial exploitation of Senegal, Sonko was thrown behind bars. And not only that, he was also barred from running in the presidential race due to a separate case involving defamation charges. So, obviously, they’re scared to death about this guy – and by “they”, I don’t mean Macky Sall, no! I mean France and those who speak for them. They believed this would drive the perceived Russian ideological revolution on the continent further away from the seat of power in France which controlled Senegal by jailing and incapacitating Sonko.

So, after incarcerating Sonko, they moved very quickly to dissolve his Pastef party just to make sure there was no political vehicle left to convey him to power under any circumstance. In fact, they even jailed his deputy or running mate, Faye. The only good news is that Faye was not barred from contesting. Undeterred by his incarceration, Sonko immediately seized the opportunity to call on his army of supporters to give all their support to Faye, saying Faye will run since he couldn’t. For Sonko, “it’s freedom or nothing!” Well, his supporters listened and began throwing their weight behind Faye.

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Faye is not as popular but ideologically, he is the same as Sonko. Both of them want to break loose from the rusted shackles of France’s neo-colonial enslavement. According to Al-Jazeera, “Faye’s programme includes the establishment of a new national currency and the renegotiation of the country’s mining and energy contracts between the government and private conglomerates.

“Central to his campaign is also a review of the relations with former colonial power France whose economic interests in the country are perceived by some in the opposition as a form of neo-colonialism.”

So France has a lot to fear and this is the reason the French-supported Macky Sall has been all over the place regarding this year’s election. Well, just two or three days ago, the first glimmer of hope showed up – the constitutional court refused to keep the elections postponed and now, elections will take place on March 24, just one month after the initially scheduled date of February 24. Seeing their wings are finally getting clipped from behind, Macky Sall immediately ordered the release of the revolutionary duo of Sonko and Faye from prison. The whole nation went into a frenzy of jubilation in what many have described as a historic victory over the forces of colonialism and a big win for the masses who have always yearned for true independence from France and the West.

From where I stand, barring all unforeseen circumstances, I think this upcoming election in Senegal is the opposition’s for the taking. Potentially, I don’t see how anyone can defeat the opposition after what has just happened. Releasing those guys is a sign that the carpet has been pulled from under the feet of the president and his colonial paymasters. And this is potentially yet another humongous loss for France, given also that, by the end of 2024, Senegal will officially become an oil and gas producer! And as I had reported a short while ago, Democratic Republic of Congo has also signed a military pact with Russia which implies that country has also gone Russian!

This is to me the most riveting story of strategic defeat of a world power that I have ever come across. How Russia does this, I do not know but they obviously don’t get enough credit. Europe should never have overreached with the Ukraine war. I am very sure they didn’t see this loss of African colonies coming and Russia doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This is why Macron is frantically trying to start a war with Russia and eventually spark another world war from Ukraine. Even when the rest of the member states of the EU are saying, “let’s think through it”, Macron, who’s the biggest loser in the loss of African colonies, is busy building new alliances just to send troops to Ukraine and engage Russia directly.

Keep your eyes on the TV and pay attention to news, you’ll hear more from him in the coming days because Russia is effectively bankrupting France by removing the feeding bottles from their mouths and flushing them down to the ranks of third world countries. That’s why the poor guy, Macron, wants a war but not everybody is minding him. Even the Italian defence chief recently lashed out at Macron’s restless and frantic push for war with Russia without properly constituted coalition. But poor Macron won’t stop because he has a big reason to worry – beyond the inglorious legacy of ruling France a first world country and leaving it a semi-third world country, Macron will forever be remembered as the little boy who took on his father’s enemies without his father’s muscles. For those of us in Africa, the more freedom, the better. And all we are going to do is win, win, and win no matter what! Because, this is our time!

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