Tag Archives: macky sall

Senegal – Sall gives up bid to shorten seven year mandate


Senegal’s President Macky Sall said on Tuesday he will complete a seven-year mandate that runs until 2019, ditching a promise made during his election campaign to cut the term to five years.

Senegal is viewed as a bulwark of democracy in Africa, and that pledge would have brought it into line it with former colonial power France at a time when several other leaders across the continent have sought to extend their rule.

Such actions have often triggered unrest, most recently in Burundi, where President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term has triggered months of violence, killing over 400 people.

“The mandate currently under way will be completed in 2019,” Sall said in a statement in French on state television that followed a recommendation by the country’s constitutional council.

He had told voters in the West African country in 2012 that he would shorten his currentterm by changing the constitution.

While the U-turn is not expected to destabilise the country, it could prove politically costly for Sall, who is widely expected to seek a second term.

“The mid-term risk is that he is seen as back-peddling on his promises and (voters) could punish him in legislative elections next year,” said a Western diplomatic source.

Sall said he will hold a March referendum on a package of constitutional changes, including the shorter mandate, although they will only take effect after the current term.

(Reporting by Diadie Ba and Emma Farge; editing by John Stonestreet)

Senegal – Macky Sall to hold reference to REDUCE presidential term to five years

Jollof News

Macky Yahya

(JollofNews)- Senegal’s President Macky Sall said on Tuesday he would hold a referendum this year to reduce the presidential term to five years from seven, seeking to “set an example” at a time when some African leaders want to lift their term limit.

Sall declined to say whether he would seek a second term in his West African country, regarded as a bastion of democracy in a turbulent region, though he is widely expected to do so.
Sall pledged during his 2012 campaign that he would cut the presidential term in Senegal to bring it into line with regional norms after his predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, increased it from five to seven years.
“Have you seen a president decrease their mandate? Me, I am going to do it,” he told a news conference.Macky Yahya

“People must see that in Africa, we are capable of setting an example and that power is not an end in itself.”
Sall, a former prime minister during Wade’s term as president, said the referendum would probably take place in May 2016. If the outcome is positive, the next presidential election will take place in February 2017, he added.
Several long-standing African leaders are approaching term limits. In Democratic Republic of Congo, President Joseph Kabila has failed to win support for legal reforms to extend his rule, while in neighboring Congo Republic, the ruling coalition is calling for constitutional change to scrap a two-term limit.
Sall swept to power in 2012 amid a wave of protests against Wade’s attempt to sidestep a term limit and to seek a third presidential mandate. The popular opposition to Wade was led by a civil society group called ‘Fed Up’.
Three members of the Senegalese organisation were among 40 people detained on Sunday by security forces at a news conference in Democratic Republic of Congo, along with a U.S. diplomat and youth leaders from Burkina Faso and Congo.
The arrests of the pro-democracy campaigners came after members of Kabila’s own ruling coalition warned him in a confidential letter this month seen by Reuters that uncertainty over his plans after 2016 was harming its popularity.
“My position is to get these Senegalese citizens – members of ‘Fed Up’ – released as quickly as possible so they can come home. We are working on that,” said Sall, declining to comment on the reasons for their arrest.

Courtesy of Reuters

Senegal considering ban on full-face veil over jihadi activity


A Muslim woman wearing the burkaAFP Four other African states have announced restrictions on wearing the full-face veil

Senegal plans to ban women from wearing the full-face Islamic veil in public in an attempt to curb jihadi activity, the interior minister has said.

The move should not be seen as anti-Islamic, as Senegal was a mainly Muslim state, Abdoulaye Daouda added.

If the plan becomes law, Senegal will be the fifth African state to restrict the wearing of the full-face veil.

In another move to target militants, all unregistered Sim cards are to be deactivated by the end of November.

Last week, its President Macky Sall, a Muslim, called for a courageous fight against militant Islamists.

Chad, Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville have announced similar bans, while Cameroon introduced it in July in its Far North region.

All of them are former colonies of France, which caused an uproar in 2011 when it became the first European country to ban the full-face veil from being worn in public places.

People cross the street in front of the Great Mosque in Touba, the holy city of Mouridism, 01 November 2007Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMost Muslims in Senegal follow a tolerant version of Islam

Chad and Cameroon have been targeted by suicide bombers, linked to the Nigeria-based Boko Haram group, whose militants sometimes wear the full-face veil as a cover to enter heavily populated areas.

Senegal has not been attacked so far by militant Islamists.

However, about two weeks ago officials said that at least two imams had been arrested for suspected links with militant groups, in the first such case reported in the country.

Sim card crackdown

Mr Daouda said the plan to ban the full-face veil was in the interest of national security.

Last week, Mr Sall said the full-face veil was not compatible with Senegalese culture and the tolerant Islam practiced by Muslims in the West African state.

Only a tiny minority of Senegalese women wear veils and most also do not cover their hair.

In another move to curb militant Islamist activity, Senegal has set a 30 November deadline for the registration of all mobile phone Sim cards. Otherwise, they will be deactivated.

In Nigeria, Africa’s biggest telecom firm, MTN, is facing a $5.2bn (£3.4bn) fine for failing to cut off unregistered mobile users.

Nigerian officials believe that Boko Haram has used unregistered mobile phones to organise its activities.

Senegal – highest court rejects release of Wade’s son


Senegal’s highest court rejected on Thursday an appeal by the son of former president Abdoulaye Wade against a six-year prison term for corruption, a setback to his hopes of contesting the next presidential election.

Karim Wade was jailed in March for “illicit enrichment” during his father’s 2000-2012 government and ordered to pay 138 billion CFA francs ($235 million) by a special court set up to fight graft in the West African state.

Wade, who has branded the prosecution a political witch hunt, was named by his father’s Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) as its presidential candidate just before the March verdict. He denies any wrongdoing.

Senegal’s next presidential election could come as early as 2017 if President Macky Sall wins approval in a referendum due next year to reduce the term to five years from seven.

“The court analysed the details of the appeal and rejected all of them,” said Aly Fall, a lawyer representing the Senegalese state.

Outside the court, a small group of supporters shouted “Free Karim Wade”. Mame Dior Diop, coordinator for Karim’s candidacy for the next presidential election, said his supporters would wage a political campaign for his release.

“We have enough shown restraint in this case. It’s high time we showed what we arecapable of,” he said.

Wade simultaneously ran several ministries during his father’s government, earning him the nickname “the minister for heaven and earth”.

Sall was swept to power in 2012 amid popular protests against Abdoulaye Wade’s attempts to win a third term in office despite a two-term constitutional limit in a country regarded as West Africa’s most stable democracy. Sall pledged to end what he said was rampant corruption under Wade’s rule.

Diplomats, however, have expressed concern about the format of the special court that convicted Wade, which required him to prove his innocence rather than vice versa.

A U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in May expressed concern over Wade’s lengthy detention before trial and over “irregularities” in the process.

Defence lawyer Baboucar Cisse said the decision came as no surprise and the Supreme Court had ignored the legal arguments put forward by his team.

“Today’s decision strips the legal system of any credibility,” he said. “What happened is not the rule of law.”

($1 = 586.0400 CFA francs)

Senegal – Casamance rebels declare ceasefire


Senegal’s Casamance MFDC rebels declare a ceasefire

Senegalese army (file photo) The army has been battling the rebels for more than 30 years

A top Senegalese rebel leader has declared a unilateral ceasefire, raising hopes of ending one of West Africa’s longest-running conflicts.

Salif Sadio said he wanted to give the peace process initiated by President Macky Sall a chance.

Mr Sadio leads a rebel MFDC faction fighting for the southern Casamance region’s independence since 1982.

A number of peace deals and ceasefires agreed in the past have failed to end the violence.

Thousands of people have been killed in the low-level conflict.

Tourist industry

Mr Sadio told a local radio station that his decision to declare a ceasefire followed talks between the government and his Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) group in Italy.

Both sides had agreed at the meeting to take steps to facilitate the peace process and end the suffering of people, correspondents say.

 A mine clearing expert in  Casamance (30 May 2011)  The government has been trying to clear the region of landmines

The rebels target the army and plant landmines in a region which once had a thriving tourist industry because of its beaches.

In May 2013, 11 demining experts hostage were taken hostage by the rebels. They were released about two months later.

A rival MFDC group signed a peace pact with the government in 2004.

Conflict first broke out over claims by the region’s people that they were being marginalised by the Wolof, Senegal’s main ethnic group.

Casamance, which is separated from the rest of Senegal by The Gambia, is home to numerous ethnic groups, including many Christians, while northern areas are dominated by three, largely Muslim communities.



Sant’Egidio mediating in Senegal’s Casamance conflict



Paulin Maurice Toupane, Intern, Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, ISS Pretoria

The resolution of the crisis in the Casamance, Senegal, that has been on hold since the ceasefire of 2005, has taken a new turn. Salif Sadio, leader of the northern faction of the armed branch of the Movement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance (Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance, MFDC), had appealed for dialogue on 1 June 2012. In an answer to that appeal, President Macky Sall, in a statement at the decentralised Council of Ministers meeting held in Ziguinchor on 27 June, pledged to begin talks with Sadio and the other warlords of the MFDC.

Indeed, since Macky Sall became president, there have been new developments both within the MFDC factions and in the attitude of the Senegalese government towards the insurgency, which wants the independence or autonomy of Casamance. ‘I have read the press release issued by Salif Sadio,’ said President Sall, ‘and I believe we are in a position to begin an open and frank dialogue with him and the northern front fighters.’

In his reaction to the President’s overtures, Sadio, in a statement reported by Radio France Internationale on 4 July 2012, said he would like to ‘invite him to hold talks outside Africa under the auspices of the Community of Sant’Egidio’. Then a press release issued by the Community of Sant’Egidio on 17 October announced that delegations of the Senegalese government and the northern faction of the MFDC ‘mandated by Salif Sadio’ had met in Rome on 13 and 14 October 2012.

Even though the restoration of peace may still seem remote, this meeting raised hopes for a resolution of a crisis that has existed since 1982. The main concern is whether this initiative, which is one of many, will succeed in creating the conditions for a lasting peace.

It is worth mentioning some of the developments that have taken place recently. As far as the MFDC is concerned, this is actually the first time that Sadio, one of the most radical and best-armed rebel leaders, has said that he is willing to hold talks. It is also the first time that all the MFDC warlords are willing to negotiate. (The armed branch of the MFDC is divided into a northern front led by Sadio’s faction and a southern front made up of two factions, that of César Atoute Badiate and that of Ousmane Gnantang Diatta.)

Finally, the different factions are trying to draw closer to each other so that they can speak with one voice. In the south, according to media sources, Badiate and Diatta are once again talking to each other. In the north, Sadio, who considers himself the sole representative of the MFDC, still has to be persuaded to open talks with the other factions. Several peace agreements were signed in the past between Senegal and the MFDC, but none has so far been supported by all the armed factions.

The government has also changed tactics. In 2000, former President Abdoulaye Wade promised to ‘resolve the Casamance issue in 100 days’. Twelve years later, Casamance is still in a ‘neither-peace-nor-war’ situation. President Sall, who claims that ‘the restoration of peace in the southern region is still close to his heart’, has made his first official visit to the Gambia’s President Yaya Jammeh. The Gambia, which many believe supports and provides a rear base for Sadio’s northern faction, has a major role to play in the resolution of this crisis.

Thus, by drawing closer to Banjul, Senegal is trying to obtain the support of President Jammeh, who stated on 15 April 2012 that he would do his best to help in having peace restored in Casamance. The two countries also signed an agreement to build a bridge to make Casamance more accessible.

Further, Senegal seems to have set a priority on the peaceful settlement of the conflict. The government, which considers the Casamance crisis an internal matter, has always refused to internationalise the conflict. However, it has to clearly define a crisis resolution road map and a socioeconomic development policy for the region; in short, anything that could facilitate the settlement of the crisis.

The mediation by Sant’Egidio, which states that it is ‘fully prepared to do everything to bring about the dialogue that will help to end the situation in Casamance’, is a source of hope for many reasons. As a Christian organisation founded in 1968 by Andréa Ricardi, the community engages in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, among other things. Its methods and status have enabled it to engage in successful mediation efforts in Mozambique, Guatemala, Kosovo and Liberia, among others. Its contribution, therefore, is welcome at a time of deadlocked negotiations amid a crisis of confidence, not only between the government and the MFDC, but also between these two actors and the neighbouring countries.

Perceived as being neutral and enjoying the confidence of the military factions, Sant’Egidio should start by bringing the military factions and political wings of the MFDC together before the negotiations begin. Indeed, negotiating with one or two rebel leaders is not the same as negotiating with the MFDC. In fact, Badiate said in early October: ‘I am not against the choice of Sant’Egidio to broker our talks with Senegal. However, it is necessary first to organise a meeting between the different factions of the movement, bring everybody together so that we can talk the same language, choose our representatives on a consensual basis and establish a platform. Otherwise, holding a meeting in Rome for instance will serve no purpose. If the mediator insists, we will still go for a change of air.’

The MFDC had broken up after the death of its charismatic leader Father Augustin Diamacoune Senghor. It is now composed of several warlords and political leaders, with the armed wing sometimes acting independently from the political wing. Further, the reaction of the MFDC’s Cercle des Intellectuels et Universitaires, a faction of the political wing which in a press release issued on 23 October 2012 rejected the mediation by Sant’Egidio and claimed that Sadio ‘is not the leader of the MFDC’, reveals the complexity of the Casamance issue in which so many actors are involved.

Despite these challenges, the context is still favourable to dialogue and the conditions seem to be there for the resolution of this thirty-year-old crisis. However, three things should be taken into account in the current efforts: firstly, the MFDC should develop a common platform for expressing its claims and join the efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Secondly, the Senegalese government should clearly define a crisis resolution road map and a socioeconomic development plan for the region, in consultation with the stakeholders in Casamance. Finally, Sant’Egidio should take into account the complexity of the issue and bring together the political and military wings of the MFDC before opening negotiations with the government of Senegal.


Will Senegal’s election on 25th be a setback for democracy

Reuters Africa

By Pascal Fletcher

DAKAR (Reuters) – Asked what might happen if Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is declared winner of the West African country’s elections, student Nando da Silva mouths the sound of an explosion: “Boom!”

President Abdoulaye Wade

Casting his first round ballot last month in Grand Yoff, a dusty Dakar suburb which is a labyrinth of sandy streets and crowded homes, da Silva is one of many young Senegalese who want to see an end to the octogenarian president’s 12-year rule.

“African leaders like politics … khaliss,” the 19-year-old adds with an impish grin, using the local Wolof language term for money and rubbing his thumb and finger together to emphasis how high political office brings enrichment for a few.

The clamour for change and renewal in one of Africa’s most stable states is colliding headlong with Wade’s disputed bid for a third term, setting up a ballot-box battle many see as a test for electoral democracy in the world’s poorest continent.

A surprisingly peaceful February 26 first round vote followed violent anti-Wade protests in the election run-up that killed at least six people. The contest is headed for a deciding second round run-off on March 25 between frontrunner Wade, 85, and his former prime minister Macky Sall, 50.

Inside and outside Africa, Senegal’s election is being closely scrutinized to see whether it upholds and advances a positive spread of multi-party political pluralism since the end of the Cold War more than two decades ago, or whether it will exacerbate what many are calling a “democratic recession”. Read more…