News / Africa

Senegal Protests Disrupt Plans for Vice Presidency

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade (R) adjusts a ribbon on his son's jacket, Karim Wade (C), during a ceremony to mark the arrival of two Senegal airlines airbus on January 19, 2011 in Dakar
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade (R) adjusts a ribbon on his son's jacket, Karim Wade (C), during a ceremony to mark the arrival of two Senegal airlines airbus on January 19, 2011 in Dakar
TEXT SIZE - +

Violent protests and opposition from his own party this week forced Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade to give up changes that would have made it easier for him to win re-election.  The reversal also disrupts Wade's plans for a vice presidency, which could have benefitted his son.

Objections to creating a vice president for Senegal focus chiefly on concerns, both within the ruling party and within the opposition, that President Wade would use that post to put his son, Karim, in place to succeed him.

Karim Wade is already a powerful member of his father's Cabinet. As minister of state for international cooperation, regional development, and infrastructure, he controls more than one-quarter of Senegal's federal budget, including the energy portfolio.

The French-educated banker suffered an electoral loss to Dakar's city council in 2009 when his father's opponents won control of the municipal council in a vote that shook up the ruling party. Despite that electoral defeat, President Wade has justified his son's pre-eminent role in his cabinet on the grounds of what he calls “exceptional competence.”

But there is a generation of leaders within the ruling party between the ages of the 85-year-old president and his 42-year-old son who have been waiting for their chance at power.

At present, the ruling party controls that choice with the president of the Senate first in the line of succession. If that position went to an appointed vice president without legislative confirmation, the choice would be entirely President Wade's.

Ruling-party parliamentarian Ndiogou Wack Ly believes the change would have been too confusing.

Ly says it is his opinion that either the post of the prime minister disappears or the post of the vice president disappears. He says Senegal can not have a messy regime with two people at the head.

Businessman Moustapha Dieng says Africa is no longer a place where leaders anoint their own successors.

'What is happening is a shame for Wade," he said. "It is a shame for West Africa. And it is a shame for all of the leaders sitting here who are trying to make their son or their friends or their lobby in the country. This can not continue.”

The prospect of Karim Wade succeeding his father through the vice presidency was a rallying point for this week's demonstrations in Dakar, with many people holding signs saying:  “Senegal is not a dynasty.”

Dieng says Senegalese watched closely the political crisis in Ivory Coast where the incumbent president used the constitutional council to block the rightful winner.

"If you know this region, we have in other countries a lot of problems in kinds of democracies where those leaders come democratically in ruling the country and then try to bring down those constitutions that bring them up. And this is what we can not accept,” he said.

Senegal's ruling party says the changes were meant to “reinforce democracy” but President Wade listened to the Senegalese people, development partners, and religious leaders in agreeing to keep the constitution as it is through elections planned for February.



You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid