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“Senegal: an African democratic model in decline” ? Afrikajom Center: When the word becomes flesh to embrace the void

“Senegal: an African democratic model in decline”

By Hamidou ANNE

I have carefully read the report “Senegal: an African democratic model in decline” published by Afrikajom Center. Reports by civil society organisations are necessary in order to document current events and to offer insights which, by their distance from political disputes, are more enlightening than partisan positions.

But this report, which purports to be a luminous contribution to Senegalese democracy, is in fact a compendium of errors, manipulations and flippancy. A selection.

On page 6, it says that the Head of State of Senegal, by chairing the African Union, has “momentarily entered the big league”. Regardless of the author’s ignorance or perfidy, since independence Senegal, led by its successive presidents, has never left the banquet of great nations. Our country is a powerful voice in world diplomacy, at the heart of major issues such as Palestine, Haiti, the Comoros and elsewhere. Senegalese have headed the IAF, the OIC, the FAO and UNESCO, to name but a few. Since the Ezulwini consensus, Senegal has been a serious candidate for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

On page 9, the report highlights “a deterioration in the transparent management of elections”. As a reminder, the cities of Dakar, Thiès, Ziguinchor, Guédiawaye and Rufisque are run by opposition mayors. Of the 165 members of parliament, 83 are from the opposition. The ruling party is in a minority in the National Assembly and, what’s more, there have been no election challenges brought before the Senegalese courts.

On the same page: “Today, the unresolved issue of the third mandate, which is returning like a sea serpent, has contributed to creating a climate of tension, violence and unease not seen since 1990.” The author of the report should step away from the virtual screens for a moment and take a closer look at the political history of the last thirty years. What about the events of 1994, 2011, the deaths of 2012 and March 2021?

On page 15, the report mentions a victory for candidate Macky Sall “in the controversial elections of February 2019”. In what way were they controversial? Can the author tell us about the challenges and appeals lodged to this effect?

On page 17, the report states: “Senegal is currently experiencing the most serious and complex democratic crisis in its political and electoral history since François Carpot and Blaise Diagne in 1914. Is the author unaware of the events of December 1962 and the violence of May 68? The violence that led to the 1988 state of emergency? The events leading up to the assassination of Mr Babacar Seye in 1993?

Yet in the general introduction to the report, on page 10, the same author contradicts himself and writes that on 17 February 1962, Senegal experienced “the most serious crisis in the country’s political history”.

On page 18, the report states: “Those who fought against the third term in 2011-2012, a fight that enabled President Macky Sall to be elected, are the same political parties and coalitions that are lobbying for a third term for the President in 2024, in violation of Article 27 of the Constitution”. He is right, but incomplete. I suggest that next time he should also mention ministers Aïda Mbodj, Habib Sy and Bara Gaye, who supported President Wade’s 3rd term right up to the end and are now opposed to a presumed 3rd candidacy for President Sall.

Also on page 18, the report states: “Ousmane Sonko, a candidate in the 2024 presidential election, is facing several lawsuits and could be excluded from the election if he is sentenced to more than three months under Article L29 paragraph 3 of the new Electoral Code of July 2021”. This sentence is inaccurate and the author knows it, but wishes to fuel confusion for the man whose loyal lackey he has been for some years. The July 2021 amendment was welcomed by virtually the entire political class because it introduced the election of mayors by direct universal suffrage and the abolition of sponsorship for local elections. The provisions to which the report dishonestly refers are L29, L30 and L31, which have been in the law since 1994.

Afrikajom Center also goes out of its way to undermine the credibility of republican institutions in order to “sell” abroad the image of a country in dire straits. This is why, on page 18, the report so irresponsibly attacks the Inspectorate General of State, the elite body in which Senegal’s best civil servants serve. Of the IGE, he says that it “looks much more like a political tool in the hands of the State to exert pressure on political dissidents in the opposition”. Serving or retired Ige members have served or are serving their country with rigour and discretion. These respectable fathers and mothers do not deserve these vile slanders.  Returning to the Prodac case, and no doubt reeling from his boss’s conviction for defamation at first instance and on appeal, the author refers on page 20 to a “provisional report” by the Igf. This is yet another lie. There is no such thing as an IGF report on this case, final or provisional. On page 23, the author, whose modesty is clearly not his greatest quality, writes of President Sall: “He came to power on the back of a massive, hybrid citizens’ movement, made up of civil society organisations, political organisations and independent personalities from various backgrounds under the leadership of the Raddho. I tried in vain to suppress a fit of giggles… On page 23, we read that President Sall has appointed “a leading figure from civil society” to head the Senegalese Human Rights Committee. This personality, whom Alioune Tine adorns with all the virtues, is… himself, Alioune Tine…

The activist knowingly tells untruths to bolster a macabre record and further tarnish our country’s image in the eyes of an international public unaware of the subtleties of local politics. On page 31, for example, he raises the tragic case of two gendarmes, Fulbert Sambou and Didier Badji, and writes: “Badji’s body was found off the coast of Senegal. Sambou’s body has not yet been found. This sentence is symptomatic of the lack of seriousness in the work and its high degree of manipulation that borders on illegality. In fact, the gendarme found dead is not Didier Badji as the report claims, but Fulbert Sambou. Secondly, it suggests that the second soldier reported missing is dead, which until proven otherwise is erroneous information.

On page 40, the author stresses: “The number of seats in Parliament is divided almost equally between the opposition and the government”. But despite all this, on page 48, the author sells us a ferocious tropical dictatorship on the brink of collapse. None of this is serious.

It took me a long time to get through this document, which is a model of how not to write a political report. The content is terse, the approximations and factual errors numerous, the untruths abundant. The author ventures into concepts that he has no mastery of; for example, the Constitutional Council, whose role he clearly does not know, the port of Ndayane, multilateral diplomacy… All the same, I welcome the effort to produce a report, even if the document is scientifically arid, stylistically catastrophic and morally tendentious.

When Alioune Tine goes to his office in the morning, that is to say on Twitter, he engages in his daily activity: vilifying our country, smearing its institutions, defending his master and recounting a whole host of inaccuracies on every current subject. For months now, I’ve been watching him in the media, trotting out muddy concepts to keep the tension rent he’s been living on for decades.

Time after time, he conjures up vague terms that mean nothing, such as “civil transition”, “criminalisation of the opposition” and the “People’s Congress”, all of which he is proud to repeat with a smile on his face, without realising that he is sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of ridicule. His latest invention is the “Peace Building Agenda”. In short…

Alioune Tine is too politically marked to hope to be credible from now on. And he has defended all the violence, insults, ethnic and anti-republican rhetoric of his “leader” without the slightest hint of disagreement. It would be better for him to come to terms with his militancy so as not to muddy the waters of public debate any further, or to distance himself from it, because by compromising himself he can no longer act as a referee of the democratic game.

The first line of the Afrikajom Center document states: “This report is the first of its kind. I hope it will be the last…

By Hamidou ANNE –

Source: Culled from

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