News / Africa

    Senegalese Decry Pre-Election Violence

    Protesters burn tires in a street after Senegal's highest court ruled that the country's increasingly frail President Abdoulaye Wade could run for a third term in next month's presidential election, in Dakar, January 27, 2012.
    Protesters burn tires in a street after Senegal's highest court ruled that the country's increasingly frail President Abdoulaye Wade could run for a third term in next month's presidential election, in Dakar, January 27, 2012.
    Jane Labous

    The Senegalese capital, Dakar, is relatively calm Sunday, after another night of protests in the city sparked by a court decision allowing President Abdoulaye Wade to stand for re-election.  Roads remain closed to stem the violence, and many Senegalese are saying enough is enough.

    An atmosphere of calm reigns over Dakar today as its population recovers from two days of protests that rocked the capital.

    More young people gathered Saturday night in the Medina district of Dakar to voice their disapproval of the decision by Senegal's highest court that President Abdoulaye Wade can run for re-election.

    Fires were lit in the Mamelles district and the road to the airport remains shut down.

    But while the military remains on high alert, many breathed a sigh of relief that the violent demonstrations that left a policeman dead and many injured on Friday night were not repeated.

    The trouble started almost immediately Friday following the announcement that 85-year-old incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade’s bid to stand for a third term had been approved by the Constitutional Court. The opposition says an amendment to the Senegalese constitution sets a limit of two terms for a president.  But Wade says his first term pre-dated the constitutional amendment.

    Fires were lit in Medina on Saturday night after the leaders of the M23 coalition, representing all the major opposition candidates running in the election, rallied people to stand up to the decision and “fight” - saying that Wade had declared war on the people.

    Amath Dansakho, head of the Independence and Work Party and a member of M23, spoke to the press on Saturday.

    Dansakho says we invite the whole population to organize and mobilize to confront Wade.  The fight has only just begun.  He says we launch a demand to all the political organizations and to civil society to take part in this resistance and we reiterate our appeal to the security forces to stay on the side of the people.

    But many Senegalese are openly critical of the kind of violence fomented by a few young people who declared their intention to bring Arab Spring-like unrest to Dakar’s central Place d'Obelisque.

    Student Moctar Ba says the opposition is irresponsible to incite young people to riot.

    “Here in Senegal we do nt have a good, mature opposition,” he explains. “Because a good opposition should never call on young people to go out into the streets to make trouble.  We need an opposition who calls for calm and who gets everyone fired up to go to the election and vote against Abdoulaye Wade.”

    Ba says M23 should be encouraging Senegal’s youth to build for the future - not destroy.

    For me, a young people who love their country should not be burning it down or killing people because of Abdoulaye Wade.  Wade, even if he is the president, is really small in the face of 12 million people, Ba says.  "It is all of us who share this country and the youth who should share it and lead it into a healthy future.  If we break our country now, it is us who will have the hard task of rebuilding it tomorrow.”

    One thing is clear however, the Senegalese almost unanimously want Mr. Wade to go.  No one who spoke to VOA believed Wade should be president for a third term, and many blame him directly for causing the violence.

    Today, invalidated opposition candidate Youssou N’Dour waits to see whether his appeal will be accepted by the Constitutional Court.

    Validated candidate Macky Sall said he is not surprised that Mr. Wade’s candidature was accepted.  Now he believes it is a question of going forward despite the president’s claims that the opposition is afraid of him.

    It is not a question of being afraid or not afraid, he says. It is a question of respect for the constitution and the law.  If he had respected that, we would not be in this position, Sall says.  "OK, he is the strongest and the most handsome and all that - but he does not have the right to be a candidate.”

    Senegalese will go to the polls on February 26.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora