He criticizes an “infantilization of Africa” for congratulating the president for “respecting the Constitution”
July 7 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko has claimed that Senegalese President Macky Sall “has abdicated under popular pressure” after announcing that he will not run for a controversial third term in 2024, before announcing that he will run for president at despite the sentences handed down against him, including one to two years in jail for “corruption of youth”.
“In reality, Macky Sall has not abdicated because he is a Democrat, but rather because of popular pressure and international pressure,” he said, before criticizing that some people who have applauded the president’s decision have spoken of ” Senegalese exception”, since other presidents of the continent have respected their term limits.
Sonko, mayor of the city of Ziguinchor (south) and leader of the Senegalese Patriots Africans for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF) party, has lamented what he has described as “an infantilization of Africa” after “a outgoing president has been congratulated by a part of the world simply for respecting the Constitution”.
Sall has repeatedly defended that he could run for a third term — despite the fact that the Constitution sets a limit of two — due to a 2016 reform to reduce the years of the term from seven to five that would cause the first to not was taken into account, according to him.
However, he finally announced this week that he would not run in 2024, triggering a flurry of congratulations from international organizations — including the United Nations, the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) — after months of tensions and violence in the context of protests by Sonko supporters against the sentences handed down against him.
In this sense, Sonko has indicated in an interview with the French television channel France 24 that Sall’s years in office have been “a dictatorship” and has accused the president of “recruiting private militias” and “allowing them to open fire on protesters unarmed”.
“Until now, the Senegalese had not demonstrated against a third term for Sall, but against the persecution of an opponent called Ousmane Sonko,” said the PASTEF leader from his home in the capital, Dakar, where he has been since a court will order two years against him, charges that he has rejected and has framed in a process to remove him from active politics.
“I am not under house arrest,” said Sonko, who has insisted that he is being detained arbitrarily, while stressing that “he is fully eligible” in the event of elections, amid doubts among his followers about an attempt to the authorities to remove him from the race for the Presidency through the sentences.
Thus, Sonko has shown his confidence that he would have won Sall “in the first round” if he had run, before warning that the Senegalese president “has told certain people that he will prohibit my candidacy at all costs”, The opponent has also said that “he is willing to forgive”, but not “to forget”.
Sall said in a speech on Monday that he ruled out running for office in 2024, saying the decision was “carefully” considered. “I know that this decision will surprise all those whose sincere admiration, trust and loyalty I know. It will also surprise those who wish to see me continue to guide the construction of the country that is becoming more and more oriented. But Senegal is beyond me and is full of leaders who they are also capable of pushing the country through the emergency,” he said.
The Senegalese opposition has accused the president of orchestrating a harsh repression against dissidents and supporters Sonko, whose lawyer, Juan Branco, accused Sall himself and his Interior Minister, Antoine Félix Diome, of launching a “generalized and systematically against the civilian population”.
Tension in the country peaked at the beginning of the month, with the death of more than 15 people due to the repression of protests in various cities of the country after a two-year prison sentence against Sonko for “corruption of youth” after being accused of rape and death threats, charges ultimately dismissed.