Is Senegalese democracy wavering?

Is Senegalese democracy wavering?

Three dead, many injured and at least 200 arrests. This is the sad toll of this Friday’s bloody march [17 juin] in the streets of Dakar and other Senegalese cities. All the ingredients were in place for this forbidden demonstration to turn into a pressure cooker whose whistle only announces a major socio-political explosion if the rulers and political leaders do not adopt gentlemanly behavior, before the legislative elections. of July 31.

Gold opposition coalition activists, Yewwi Askan Wi [“Libérer le peuple” en langue wolof]who are determined to put sand in the thiéboudiene [communément appelé “tieb” au Sénégal, il s’agit d’un plat national composé de riz concassé et de poisson] of Macky Sall, would not want to limit themselves to this march for anything in the world, despite the loss of human life and the incarceration of its militants and leaders.

A flaw in the opposition

The power of Macky Sall forgets, or pretends to forget, that it is thanks to the mobilization of this same street that he had, in his time, succeeded in shortening the excessive longevity that former President Abdoulaye Wade wanted to grant [en 2012, à l’âge de 85 ans, Abdoulaye Wade se présenta pour un troisième mandat présidentiel, ce qui déclencha des manifestations. Il fut finalement battu par Macky Sall]. But as the butcher is afraid of the knife, knowing quite well its dangerousness, Macky Sall quickly engulfed himself in the coarse breach opened by those opposite.

A fault of the opposition which consisted in the registration, on the national electoral list, of the same person as holder and substitute, to eliminate a candidate with an imposing size. Indeed, the incriminated list is the one led by the fiery and very popular mayor of Ziguinchor, Ousmane Sonko [principal opposant de Macky Sall et candidat malheureux lors du scrutin présidentiel de 2019]. The opportunity was too good and so unexpected that the power could not not seize it! And that’s too bad for an opposition that can and should blame only itself! Even if the error is human, some are not to be made, because unforgivable!

Except that this oddity could be made up for, if the master of Dakar had not wanted to be so intransigent, by blocking, through the great judges of the Constitutional Council, any possibility for Yewwi Askan Wi to restore order on his list. Did the Sages really show wisdom? Probably not, because they could have straightened the bar. But, as elsewhere in the tropics, most institutions are, as a matter of political strategy, under the control of the prince of the day!

The hypothesis of a third term

Except that this act had the consequence of contributing to reinforce the schism between the opposition, with it a good part of the people, and the power of Macky Sall. The endless cycle of marches has never been a good sign in a country where the president is credited with the weakness of succumbing to the charm of a third term [en 2024]which inevitably follows from the butchering of the Constitution [la Constitution sénégalaise de 2001 pose la limitation à deux mandats présidentiels consécutifs. Élu deux fois, Macky Sall a semblé ne pas exclure l’hypothèse d’une troisième candidature]unfortunate act which would be in preparation in the power labs of Dakar.

However, there is still hope that the head of the African Union (AU) [Macky Sall est depuis février, et pour un mandat d’un an, à la tête de l’organisation panafricaine] give the lie to all these rumors which are, for the moment, only suppositions.

The president of the African Union therefore has no room for error, he who tries to mend the Russian and Ukrainian parties in conflict, while forgetting that the fire is smoldering in his own house. In any case, Senegal has always been a country of great democratic culture, and it would be a shame if this beacon was extinguished by the fault of a single man.

For the moment, it is fear in the stomach that the populations are waiting for these legislative elections, which, according to the Senegalese president, will not be postponed to allow reorganizations which should be used to extinguish the fire in preparation.

As usual and elsewhere in the tropics, will Senegal rhyme elections with violence? Yes, if the positions remain so stiff, both on the side of the opposition and that of a power which, however, has the duty to ensure peace of mind for its people.


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