Tuesday, February 6, 2024 4:17 pm
Abubakar Hashim/ Sierra Leone
The six months postponement, few days ago, by Senegal’s President Macky Sall, is imminent Senegal is descending into an electoral and constitutional crisis, similar to what happened in The Gambia in 2017 under exiled President Yahya Jammeh.
In 2017, President Sall’s Senegalese troops led ECOWAS mission sent to The Gambia to force out long time ruler Jammeh, in a post elections crisis, after Jammeh refused to accept he had lost an election. The only difference is that President Sall is not in the ballot as he failed a third term bid.
In a region beset by coups and botched coups, President Sall had been a key actor in the push by ECOWAS to force military rulers and even civilian dictators to conduct elections and hand over power to civilians.
President Sall was also part of a two- man ECOWAS mission to Sierra Leone, with Ghana’s Akuofo Addo, to plead with President Bio to handle the Ernest Koroma coup attempt saga, with utmost diplomacy.
President Sall’s democratic credentials are now hanging in the balance.
The postponement, by six months of the February 25 elections, has thrown Senegal into a slippery slope of electoral and constitutional crisis.
The constitution requires elections to be organised at least 30 days before the end of the incumbent President’s mandate.
President Sall’s final term expires on 2nd April, 2024.
It is even more disturbing that the electoral calendar must be released 80 days before the vote takes place.
There were massive protests in Senegal, resulting from the postponement.
Prominent opposition candidate, Ousmane Sonko is not eligible to run in the ballot, due to libel case, but has been replaced by Bassirou Faye, who is also in jail, but eligible to run in the forthcoming elections.
Last Sunday, two opposition politicians, including former Prime Minister, Aminata Toure, once arch ally of President Sall, were detained following mass protests.
Karim Wade, son of former President Wade, is also banned from contesting, due to his French nationality.
The extension of the elections by six months, is widely seen by Sall’s critics, of a heightened apprehension of his chosen successor, Prime Minister Amadou Ba, of possibly loosing the forthcoming elections.
The extension is also seen as time buying, to replace Ba and thereby rejig the momentum that is fast dissipating.
The signs are imminent that Senegal, once the bastion of democracy, may slip into an electoral and constitutional crisis, all variables held constant.