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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Senegalese opposition and Macky Sall’s suspicious intention for a third term

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By Samsudeen Sarr

Thank God, the anticipated political demonstration in Senegal on 29 June by the Senegalese opposition coalition party Yewwi Askan Wi was, after all, postponed. In their press conference the party leaders in Dakar attributed their postponement to the need to respect the nation’s preparations for the upcoming Muslim Tobaski feast slated for the 10th of July. What a sigh of relief after evading the potential social and economic calamities! Folks have credited the Senegalese grand marabouts for their timely intervention that moderated the raw emotions. Of course, the government was also wise by hastily releasing the key opposition leaders arrested last week before the ultimatum given by their leader Ousman Sonko.

Although they were rushed to what many have considered a kangaroo court and given suspended sentences; yet still, their message of defiance remained unchanged with promises of further tenacity to continue the battle against the government of Macky Sall.

Ousman Sonko, has again reiterated the party’s unwavering belief that President Macky Sall is recklessly committed to running for a third term in 2024. But almost every Senegalese I spoke to about the third term contention quibbled over its impossibility including even those who consider themselves staunch supporters of the president. They just don’t believe that Macky is that stupid to try it.

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It’s therefore advisable for President Sall to put all this state of trouble-fermenting uncertainty to rest by just stating its unconstitutionality that will not be violated. The idea that he cannot say anything now for fear of throwing his coalition government into chaos over who will succeed him is rather absurd. If the party he has been leading for over two decades can’t trust any one among themselves to succeed him then they certainly don’t deserve to rule the country and should indeed yield to better-led parties.

Notwithstanding, an independent Senegalese observer has expressed his scepticism of President Sall bowing out honorably without an assurance of his safety or protection from any form of prosecution together with members of his family and close associates after leaving office. The observer doesn’t also expect the president to enjoy immunity because of the way and manner he had treated his predecessor’s family members and associates soon after assuming office in 2012. He didn’t only humiliate Wade’s family but ensured that his son Karim was jailed for corruption and for “squandering state resources”.

Macky had indeed campaigned and won his first term in office on a cogent promise to the Senegalese people that he would crack down on the pervasive corruption in the government of Wade and would establish an incorruptible administration.

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Then in 2016 he further portrayed himself to the Senegalese people and the whole world that he was a doyen of African democracy by throwing the weight of his entire country into removing The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, from office.

I was there and had witnessed the enthusiastic role President Sall and his government had played that literally flushed Jammeh out of the country because of the latter’s “undemocratic principles”.

But then, that whole saintly image of President Sall started suffering major setbacks in 2017 when his brother Alieu Sall was exposed in a corruption scandal dwarfing every economic crime ever committed by Karim Wade who was still languishing in jail.

Although not long after that, when the damage was already done, he finally granted amnesty to the son of his predecessor. Folks have argued that he wouldn’t have released the fellow if his government and brother were not caught by the BBC in that huge unlawful oil and gas transactions with one Frank Timis, a Romanian Businessman living in England.

Frank’s reputation as an international businessman in the field of oil and gas raised a lot of red flags over his credibility. The BBC damning revelations through a documentary that I will share in my Facebook and WhatsApp accounts detailed inconceivable level of corruption involving Alieu Sall whose earnings were far above his worth and qualifications with dubious offshore accounts still hidden somewhere in a backcountry. The reporter believes that Alieu was operating that account on behalf of his brother.

Anyway, the whole corruption crusade waged by Macky against Wade has now been shifted against his government and the people closely working with him.

As a result, the members of the Senegalese opposition parties have vowed to investigate the corruption of Macky’s government upon winning the presidency which might end up throwing many of his friends and close affiliates to jail. Is that why he continues to find a way of remaining in power like his friend President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast?

Doesn’t he know that by illegally staying in power longer than allowed he will further destroy his legacy of fighting the “dictatorial government of Yahya Jammeh”?

However, none of his corruption attributes with his brother were mentioned by the opposition party leaders in their press conference today; but they denounced a lot of what he is doing in Senegal today as being reckless and dictatorial.

His fraternisation with Western leaders and their endorsement of his leadership was briefly highlighted along with his insensitivity to the plights of drowning African migrants desperately trying to sail to the European continent.

Four months into the Ukrainian war, European nations have happily opened their doors to about two million fleeing white refugees while black and brown people trying to flee from wars, starvation and subjugation mainly created by Europeans are arrested, imprisoned, deported and even murdered upon entry to Europe.

In fact Morocco and Spain have become the new partners in the brutal persecution of African migrants. Did you see the recent disturbing videos from Morocco and Spain? Gross!

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