News / Africa

Former Senegalese Leader Set to Return Home Wednesday

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is surrounded by supporters and security as he travels between campaign stops in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. (AP)Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is surrounded by supporters and security as he travels between campaign stops in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. (AP)
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is surrounded by supporters and security as he travels between campaign stops in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. (AP)
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is surrounded by supporters and security as he travels between campaign stops in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. (AP)
James Butty
Former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is expected to return home Wednesday from France, where he has been living since his 2012 electoral defeat by current President Macky Sall.
But, his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) said the government has ordered a shutdown of the Leopold Senghor International Airport from 2 to 8pm local time and barred Wade’s supporters from holding a welcome rally.
Amadou Sall, former justice minister and communications director during former Wade’s administration, said the government is afraid because Wade is more popular than Sall.
“President Wade is supposed to be back home Wednesday in the afternoon, and our party and the Senegalese citizens are ready to be there with him.

But, we have a problem because the government has decided to close Dakar Airport in the afternoon between 2 and 8 o’clock pm” he said.
Sall also said the government has banned Wade supporters from holding a welcome rally in Dakar for the former president.
“We decided that when President Wade arrives, we will organize a popular meeting in Dakar because President Wade is very popular and the population decided to go in the street to welcome him. But, the government has not authorized this meeting and they decided that parking in all avenues is forbidden,” Sall said.
He said the former president’s supporters have a right to organize a welcome rally without obtaining permission from the police.
“If someone is coming, his supporters have the right to go to the airport just to say hello and welcome. And they cannot forbid that because we have the right to do that,” Sall said.
Sall said the government prohibited Wade supporters from holding a welcome rally because the former president is more popular than the current leader.
“They fear Abdoulaye Wade because President Macky Sall is very unpopular.  His government is unpopular, his prime minister is very unpopular, and Senegalese citizens are unsatisfied,” Sall said.
Abou Abel Thiam, a presidential spokesman, denied the government plans to shut down the airport.
He said Wade, as a former president, enjoys certain privileges that the government is ready to make available at his request. But, Thiam said the government will not tolerate Wade returning home both as a former president and as a “troublemaker.”
“The former president, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, has a status of a former president. Tomorrow, if he comes in this case with his status as former president, we will open the airport and give him a car to leave him to go wherever he wants. But, what we don’t accept is for him to come with his status of a former president and to want to make trouble in the city,” he said.
Thiam said Wade has told a French newspaper that he was returning home for political reasons.
Wade is returning home at a time when the new government has accused his son, Karim Wade, of amassing millions of dollars in alleged ill-gotten wealth when he served in his father’s government.
The elder Wade has reportedly said the government was engaged in a witch hunt against his son.
But, Thiam said the justice system simply wants the younger Wade to explain how he acquired such huge sums of money.
“What is true is that his son, Mr. Karim Wade, was a former minister in his father’s government. He had a big responsibility in the government of his father. The justice system wants him to explain where he got the big money that has been found in his bank account,” Thiam said.
Butty interview with Thiam
Butty interview with Thiami
|| 0:00:00
Butty interview with Sall
Butty interview with Salli
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs