News / Africa

Senegal Opposition Searching for Consensus Candidate

Crowds watch two dancers at an opposition rally in Ziguinchor, the regional capital of Senegal's southern Casamance province on Saturday, May 14
Crowds watch two dancers at an opposition rally in Ziguinchor, the regional capital of Senegal's southern Casamance province on Saturday, May 14
Julia Ritchey

Opposition parties in Senegal are looking for a consensus candidate to challenge President Abdoulaye Wade in elections early next year.

Toward that end, hundreds of people gathered for a large and noisy opposition rally in Ziguinchor, the regional capital of the southern Casamance region.

Called “Benno Siggil Senegal” - or “Unite to Empower Senegal” - the opposition coalition featured speakers railing against what they call the failed policies of President Wade.

The rally attracted more than 30 opposition groups, including several former members of Wade’s party and the socialist regime that preceded him. The goal of the meeting was to begin to field possible candidates who could unite the fragmented opposition and run a viable campaign against the president.

Among the half-dozen politicians present, it is still unclear who might fill this role. Though the 84-year-old president’s popularity has faded over his 10-year rule, he retains much support in the capital Dakar.

Wade says he intends to run in next February's election, though many political observers believe he is preparing his son Karim to succeed him. The president says his son has as much right to run for president as anyone else in Senegal and believes that he would be a strong candidate. He currently is the minister of state for international cooperation.

At the Ziguinchor rally, 27-year-old opposition supporter Alassane Diallo said he has had enough of the president and his son.

Diallo said it’s a matter of Wade doing whatever he feels like. Diallo said there are no checks and balances on the president’s power like one finds in other countries, and ministers are making outlandish salaries.

Diallo said he has voted for Wade in the past, but said that now the time for change is long overdue.

Many politicians at the event also spoke of the insecurity that has plagued the Casamance for 30 years. Separatists have been fighting for the independence of the agricultural region since 1982. There have been a series of cease-fires, but renewed violence over the past year has set back a once-thriving tourist trade.

Political leader Amath Dansokho of the Party for Work and Independence spoke to the rally’s boisterous crowd of young and old, saying a new government would be the region’s best chance at peace.

Dansoko said peace will never come to Casamance as long as Wade is in power. Because of the president, Dansokho said, everyday the prices of food and fuel go up and taxes go up.

Though he did not address the crowd, the former mayor of Ziguinchor, Robert Sagna, appeared to garner the loudest and most prolonged applause.

Voulymata Badji sat in a plastic chair at the edge of the crowd. She would like to see Sagna run because she said he did much for Ziguinchor before being voted out of office when President Wade came to power.

Badji said Sagna is in her heart. She said he would do well to represent the Casamance region, which has long felt ignored.

Whoever emerges as the candidate of the opposition coalition will not be running just against Wade. Former ruling-party prime ministers Idrissa Seck and Macky Sall have both launched independent presidential campaigns, as well.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid