in Senegal, residents and opponents refuse to let Macky Sall postpone the presidential election

Can the pressure of Senegalese public opinion really make the head of state back down? The opposition and civil society are calling for a new demonstration on Tuesday, a silent march against Macky Sall. But the government does not intend to reverse the postponement of the election.



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The Colobane market in Dakar, in February 2024, as Senegal is shaken by demonstrations against President Macky Sall.  (WILLIAM DE LESSEUX / RADIOFRANCE)

Second-hand clothes waved by dozens of sellers jostled by fast orange and blue buses: the Colobane market square, in Dakar, Senegal, is also a place to talk politics. The current subject: to participate or not in the demonstrations against the power in place, after the postponement of the presidential election and the extension of the mandate of President Macky Sall. The next one takes place on Tuesday February 13 but the previous day of mobilization, last Friday, is still in everyone’s minds. All the parades were dispersed, sometimes bloodily repressed. Three young people died, two of whom were shot.

For a young Senegalese, however, it is “the solution to get out of this abyss. We, the youth, advocate change”. But Guy Roger Kaly does not believe in the scope of these mobilizations: according to him, Macky Sall will remain in power. “He tried this kind of thing for a long time. And today, I think he succeeded because, when he sticks to a position, he doesn’t move”he notes resignedly. “For me, he didn’t wincontradicts Cherif Malayni Sagna. There are tensions and the people don’t need that. We are in a very complicated situation. You have to see how people are doing. There is nothing !”. Cherif Malayni Sagna asks the president to hear the anger expressed in the streets. “When we postpone the election, what will that create tomorrow?”he asks.

Macky Sall plays for time

The opposition is organizing itself to mobilize more. In the party of opponent Ousmane Sonko, still imprisoned, El Malick Ndiaye assures that the streets will be one of the means of pushing back President Macky Sall.

“He is completely alone on the international level, as well as on the national level.”

El Malick Ndiaye, national communications secretary of PASTEF Les Patriotes

at franceinfo

“He is abandoned by all religious, trade union, civil society organizations, the international community, the CDAO… It is nothing other than a putsch. He is alone in his own world”insists El Malick Ndiaye.

The latest demonstrations were banned. The government spokesperson Abdou Karim Fofana instead calls for participation in the national dialogue desired by the president. “We need to sit down, discuss and the President of the Republic made this call for appeasement, inclusiveness, transparency of the elections”. Under pressure from the international community, those in power are playing for time and increasing their outstretched hands in recent days. Far from being convinced, the opposition and civil society maintain their call to demonstrate.

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