In Senegal, the controversial candidacy of Abdoulaye Wade has been approved by the Constitutional Council last Friday. The news caused outbreaks of violence in the capital, Dakar, as a large portion of the Senegalese youth is now torn between anger and shame.
by Bineta Diagne, Dakar
“I was shocked, my heart is broken and I am ashamed to stand before the rest of Africa”, says Thiat, the spokesperson of the movement Y’en a Marre, in outrage. For this artist, the approval of Abdoulaye Wade’s candidature by the Constitutional Council amounts to “constitutional coup d’état”.
Step back in history
According to the leader of this movement, which is popular among disillusioned Senegalese youths who have lost faith in the Alternation regime introduced by Wade in 2000, the decision is a step back in the history of Senegal.
“We’ve always held our heads high in Africa, claiming that things were well in our country. But are they? An old man, conniving with other old men, is doing in Senegal what he used criticised in other African countries”, explains the artist, who is wearing a t-shirt with the Y’en a Marre logo.
Last Sunday, the June 23 Movement (M23), which regroups numerous civil society organisations and opposition parties, has called for a “popular resistance”. Like the entire leadership of M23, Thiat is convinced that “This constitutional coup d’état will ultimately lead to an electoral coup”. He prescribes “action”.
A view that is shared by Maodo. On Friday, the 35-year-old man took part in a protest organised by the June 23 Movement at the ‘place de l’Obélisque’ (Obelisk square). Like the hundreds of others protesters present at the square, Moado was overwhelmed by anger at the announcement of the Constitutional Council’s decision.
“We were gathered at the Obelisk square, anxiously awaiting the decision of the Constitutional Council and we were shocked. The news came like a massive blow”, recalls this unemployed resident of the Medina, in the Senegalese capital. Yet according to Moado, there is no need to “resort to violence” and “descend on the streets to protest again” this Tuesday, as suggested by M23.
Wait for February 26
“Our last resort is the election: we must wait for February 26 to speak through the polls and ask him to go”. Abdoulaye, 26, also prefers the way of the polls. This street vendor was also “shocked, angered and disappointed” by the Council’s decision. “I think he is old and he needs to take a break”, says Abdoulaye, who calls on his fellow countrymen to “start the electoral campaign in peace”.