Senegal: 'Why Should We Call for a Dialogue? Dialogue for Whom? With Whom and About What?'

Protests in Senegal (file photo)
14 February 2024
guest column

There is a right time for everything, including dialogue, which is what President Macky Sall is calling for. A short time before the start of the electoral campaign, he has chosen to unilaterally put an end to the electoral process, by cancelling sine die the decree convening voters, and to push the police gendarmerie into a murderous fury against citizens who were merely exercising their right.

Why would you call for a dialogue when it's easier to respect the institutional order dictated by the Constitutional Council's act which demands to publish the list of 20 candidates which are aimed to compete, when the start of the campaign was imminent?

The dismissal of the CENA (National Electoral Commission) and the control of sponsorship are the first steps towards postponing the presidential election. Which inevitably leads to dialogue.

The timing is suspicious, and those who initiated the dialogue will have a hard time convincing even the most naive people of the sincerity of their approach, because of some elements of their language which were poorly developed. In fact, they stand out in two or even three groups. Firstly, those who were eliminated from the race because they were unable to obtain the required number of sponsors, and they were eliminated at the very start of the preliminaries, and they were consequently clinging to the dialogue in order to exist, to reposition themselves.

There are also those who have failed to make the cut, and for whom there is some kind of ambiguity about the timing that needs to be dealt with. For it is impossible to imagine a dialogue at this stage of the process without a postponement. Some others  think instead there can be no postponement. What would be the purpose of the dialogue then?

Finally, among the candidates, we can count supporters of the dialogue who are either not ready, or as some analysts claim it, are among those who intend to reunite with Macky Sall in order to keep holding the power once the dialogue is over.

For them, the big problem to be resolved is the equation of April 2, 2024, the date on which President Sall is due to hand over the power. Will Macky Sall extend his term of office until December 15, 2024, as advocated by the law passed by "his deputies"? which is out of question for now at least, otherwise, how will the commitments made during this dialogue affect his successor? Using a crisis, which was just a fancy, as a pretext to create this imbroglio, was the most serious mistake a politician has made in half a century in Senegal.

But the obvious question is also to know towards whom the dialogue should be oriented? Karim Wade who is cozily sitting in his comfort zone in Doha and gloating while the country is on fire and bleeding? No.

Towards Macky Sall? He reiterated his decision not to seek a third term. So is something at stake? Why all this haste, what justifies this frenzy noticed in the presidential camp? The country is undoubtedly blessed with many talented people who can lead its destiny.

For God’s sake, who should we stand for! while the sovereign people only seeking to enjoy their right to choose their next president on the date fixed by the Constitution, namely February 25, 2024, period.

Dialogue with whom and on what?

The candidates who are involved in the contest, i.e. the list of 20 have said NO, before the volte-face of the former Prime Minister Mahammad Boun Abdallah Dionne, previously suspected of supporting the ruling party, Benno Bokk Yaakaar, and his candidate,the current Prime Minister Amadou Ba

The most comical thing is that the supposed “protagonists” of the dialogue are today the main targets of the police, while they express their disagreement against what is nothing but an assault. .

To engage in a dialogue, you need to know what you are talking about. Today, however, the main concern for candidates is to implement their campaign program and get to the polls, as stipulated by law, and they are being prevented from doing so with tear gas and truncheon blows.

This call for dialogue is, in many respects, a kind of delaying tactic designed to give Macky Sall the means to extend his term of office illegally, by cloaking it in the seal of legitimacy, born from a consensus with all the stakeholders.

The only problem is that the motive that has been brandished (a crisis between 2 institutions: parliament and the judiciary) lacks substance. Moreover, it has been challenged in the courts, which will be ruling on the matter shortly.  There is no doubt that the decision delivered by the Supreme Court on the decree annulling the convening of the electoral body, and by the Constitutional Council on the law passed by Parliament with forceps, extending the term of office of President Macky Sall, will or will not lead the country, now at the height of tension, towards peace or instability, depending on whether or not it is in conformity with the Constitution.

Translated from - read the original

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