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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs