Senegalese Exceptionalism is a huge factor

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Senegalese President Macky Sall says he will leave office when his second term is over in April but hasn't set a date for the election to choose his successor [John Thys/AP]

TAT Commentary by Alfsoninke

“…In solidarity with the people of Senegal…! “Indeed, what is happening in Senegal where Macky Sall is your ‘model’ autocrat, and the reaction of the ECOWAS Authority and ECOWAS Commission is yet more evidence of the sham ‘democracy’ we have in our countries.”

We have not seen the ECOWAS communique following the latest “extraordinary” summit of the Authority in Abuja, but are not surprised to learn that it heaped “praises on Macky Sall thereby betraying the people of Senegal and West Africa” – as asserted in Madi Jobarteh’s latest post on Facebook.

However, we do recall the last ECOWAS Commission statement on the crisis in Senegal, when and where it described Senegal as “a model ECOWAS member state” – the word “model” used earlier was borrowed from that ECOWAS Commission communique.

We note that then the ECOWAS Commission did not thankfully say a “model” democracy.
Since the staff of the Commission live and work right here with us in West Africa on this planet Earth, and not on another planet or the moon; and, therefore, like all of us do read, see, hear and know what is happening in Senegal daily, under Macky Sall’s misrule.

However, the reason for the ECOWAS Commission kowtowing to Macky Sall and the Senegalese state is due to what we call Senegalese exceptionalism!
That means the Senegalese parading themselves as exceptional in West Africa (in neo-colonial francophone Africa?) despite the reactionary nature of the Senegalese state and Senegalese society, as witnessed by history.

This explains the exceptionable behavior of Macky Sall. It is necessary to define “exceptionable” (adj. Formal) which according to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary means “offensive or upsetting”.

For proof of this, see how the arrogant Macky Sall would not receive Nigeria’s President and current chairman of the ECOWAS Authority, Bola Tinubu, whose announced visit to Dakar was cancelled. Then there was talk that they would meet at the AU summit in Addis, but it did happen because Sall did not go to the summit, where he was represented by his foreign minister Madior Fall.

Truth is Sall snubbed Tinubu – he would have told his Nigerian counterpart that Tinubu’s advice (lecture?) and mediation was not needed; that Senegal is a “sovereign” nation and could handle its affairs without outside “interference” (remember the beloved edict of “non-interference in the internal affairs of member states”!)

Sall’s blatant display of Senegalese exceptionalism was again exhibited at his latest press conference held last Thursday evening hosted by RTS, when he voiced disapproval of the way events in Senegal are being reported in the international press.

He also complained about the statements made by foreign governments and international organizations on the situation in Senegal.

Imagine, Macky Sall still insists that there are no political prisoners in Senegal even after detaining more than 1000 Senegalese in prison following mass protests since 2020, among them Ousman Sonko and Diomaye Faye, said to pose the greatest threat to Sall’s party and Senegal’s ruling elite’s continuing in office – should Senegal’s presidential election ever go ahead.

Reportedly, among the detainees are women, teenagers and even school boys held in Rebeuss – the country’s notorious maximum security prison in Dakar.
Thus, our emphasis on Senegalese exceptionalism!

Indeed, the Authority and ECOWAS Commission’s kowtowing to Macky Sall, and treating him with kid gloves – meaning “to be very polite or kind to someone because you do not want to make them angry or upset” (Cambridge); is further evidence of condoning this pervasive Senegalese exceptionalism – same as we have see in the way Americans flout international law on the world stage, and now we also see a display of the same attitude and behavior by the Israelis in Palestine as they treat international law with contempt; and leaving all of us with the realization that the rules do not apply to them!

Furthermore, that the ECOWAS Commission is groveling to Macky Sall is seen when it referred to Senegal as a “model ECOWAS member state”.

But that characterization of the Senegalese state says a lot about the nature of the regional organization itself, when you and I know the following:
That under the Senegalese state presided over by Macky Sall’s government, records show that at least so far as many as 64 persons have been killed, many reportedly by live bullets routinely used by Senegalese security forces and death squads in repressing citizens – attacking and brutalizing journalists, including women journalists – as shown worldwide on revision and social media – has been happening.

That Macky Sall’s government has been engaged in massive repression of the opposition in cohorts with the country’s judicial authorities and security services;
Senegalese complain that despite regular announcements of official investigations, the findings are never made public;

We also know that in Senegal the right to engage in peaceful protests guaranteed by the constitution is routinely denied through administrative fiat;

What about the shared responsibility in knowing violating the constitution through acts which resulted in calling off at the eleventh hour the presidential election scheduled for Sunday February 25; which all agree is unprecedented in the country’s political evolution?

The Senegalese government routinely shuts down the Internet – tampering with citizens’ right to communicate, and at great cost to the country’s economy – but the primary reason is to hide the crimes being committed against the Senegalese people.
We could go on and on.
So there you have it; your “model ECOWAS member state” – a designation conferred by the ECOWAS Commission on Macky Sall’s Senegal! Unconscionable?

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