News / Africa

Dakar Tense Ahead of Senegal Elections Ruling

Senegalese anti-government youth rally against President Wade in Dakar, Jan. 27 2012.
Senegalese anti-government youth rally against President Wade in Dakar, Jan. 27 2012.

Despite a government-issued ban on public demonstrations ahead of the Constitutional Court’s decision on who can run for president next month, rallies are taking place throughout Dakar.

In the face of unrelenting opposition, Senegal backed down from its five-day ban on demonstrations surrounding President Abdoulaye Wade’s controversial bid for a 3rd term.

The main rally started with a prayer. In lieu of a mosque, hundreds prostrated themselves for the Friday prayer in Dakar's Place d'Obelisque.

The M23 opposition movement has been waiting for the high court to decide on President Wade's candidacy, and it has not mobilized supporters on such a scale since the June 23rd protests, for which the group is named. On that day, mass demonstrations forced Wade to withdraw a constitutional referendum that would have all but guaranteed February reelection.

Imam Chérif Mballo, who led the prayer, hopes it will help the opposition movement score another victory over Wade.

"If the prayer proves effective and Wade renounces his candidacy, that would be extraordinary," says Mballo via interpreter. "But if he doesn't renounce, action must accompany the prayer, because, without action, the prayer cannot succeed."

The 85-year-old president is seeking a third term despite a limit of two that he signed into law in 2001, after his first election. He now says the law does not apply retroactively and that it is up to the constitutional council -- not the opposition -- to decide.

The court's decision is expected before its deadline of midnight Friday. In addition to Wade, the court, which comprises five presidentially-appointed jurists, will decide the candidacies of more than 20 hopefuls, including Grammy award winner Youssou N'Dour, who made an appearance at Friday's rally.

"History will be written in Senegal on Friday and they will not accept anything except the meaning of the constitution," says N'Dour via interpreter. "He believes it is very clear and Wade doesn't have the right to seek a third term."

Though the mood is hopeful, it is also tense. Most in Senegal and the international community believe the court will confirm Wade as a candidate.

Abdoul Lo, a Senegalese political analyst, fears an affirmative decision would threaten the most stable democracy in the region.

"We’ve seen what happened in Cote d’Ivoire months and months ago, and some people fear that this may happen again in a country that has a very long history of democracy," says Lo.

President Wade has said he needs at least three more years to finish important projects that he has started, but M23 says he has to leave office now.

Both await the council's decision.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid