Senegal: Greed for power plunges one of the few African democracies into chaos!

31 Jan

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin

The 27 January ruling by Senegal’s constitutional court allowing the country’s 85-year old President Abdoulaye Wade to run for a third term in next month’s election has plunged one of Africa’s most stable countries into an uncertain future. Not only that the man is of advanced age, but also has already been in power for the past eleven years and no matter what the technicalities on the basis of which the court ruled, Abdoulaye Wade now finds himself on the wrong side of history.

The interesting thing about this decision is the fact that, in a country where a third-term is constitutionally prohibited, the constitutional court ruled in favour of the elderly president to try his lack for a third term, under the pretext that the law was adopted while he was in office and, therefore, was not applicable to him.

The court also approved the names of 14 candidates that it said were qualified to run in February 26 election, excluding a few others, including the popular singer N’Dour who was likely to have won over the incumbent.

Senegalese are unhappy with the court decisions and the country is now in turmoil, protesting President Wade’s candidacy and the rejection of other candidates on technicalities. As a country that has a lot of active civil society organizations, it is unlikely that this situation could easily go the way of the president.

Africa and the entire world need to hold the incumbent responsible for whatever fate Senegal is going to face, since he has given priority to his greed for power over the stability of Africa’s most democratic and stable nation.

In fact, under President Wade’s leadership Senegal has suffered high unemployment, widespread poverty and lack of progress on the standard of living front, a situation that all the more has ignited the anger and frustration of young Senegalese.

On Tuesday, police fired tear gas and water cannons against protestors, rallying under the banner of 23 June Movement of the opposition. Three people have died in the riots since Friday. The US has officially urged the elderly Wade to allow power to pass to the new generation. Other countries are likely to follow suit.

Those who find pleasure in lecturing Africa must now seize this opportunity to stop Senegal’s slide into the usual chaos we are used to seeing during election in Africa. The situation might become difficult to redress, once the situation gets out of hand!

Africans from all corners of the region and in the diaspora must disapprove of this insanity in every way possible.

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