Senegalese Residents in Gambia Express Concern Over Tense Political Situation in Senegal

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Senegal's President Macky Sall looks on during the EU Global Gateway Forum 2023, in Brussels, Belgium October 25, 2023. REUTERS/Johanna Geron Acquire Licensing Rights

By: Alieu Ceesay

President Macky Sall’s recent decision to postpone the presidential election, initially scheduled for February 28, 2024, to December, has sparked outrage and frustration among Senegalese at home and abroad.

In a televised address to the nation on Saturday, Sall cited the Constitution Council’s questioning as the reason for the unprecedented delay. This move came after the Council disqualified two prominent opposition figures, Ousman Sonko and Karim Wada, leading to widespread condemnation.

Alasan Sane, a Senegalese resident in The Gambia, lamented President Sall’s decision, describing him as a “rebel” while expressing disappointment in the Senegalese head of state.

“If I could change his nationality to another country, he would,” Sanneh remarked, echoing the sentiments of many Senegalese. Basirou Keita, another Senegalese also residing in The Gambia, criticized Sall, labeling him a “loser,” and stressed the socioeconomic impacts the internet shutdown would have on the citizens and the country.

Pap Ndong, a Senegalese businessman, urged a resolution to the crisis, emphasizing the importance of peace in Senegal.

“In Senegal, all we know is peace,  so Macky Sall should not take that peace from us through his self-interest,” Pap said.

The appointment of Sall’s Prime Minister Bah as a replacement candidate further fueled dissatisfaction among Senegalese citizens.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on Sall to take necessary actions to facilitate the conduct of elections, underscoring the importance of upholding democratic principles and regional stability.

Ousman Gaye, also a Senegalese resident in The Gambia, emphasized the fight for democratic rights, stating, “What Senegalese are doing right now is not demonstrating against Macky but fighting for their right.” He expressed a desire to join demonstrations against the perceived dictatorship.

Sait Matty Jaw, a renowned Gambian political analyst, called on President Sall to respect the Senegalese Constitution and organize an election, saying the citizens own the process.

Considering the Gambia’s geographical proximity to Senegal, Matty stressed the importance of maintaining stability in the Senegambia region. He called on President Sall to heed the people’s demand for an election.

“The election belongs to the citizens, not the President. Therefore, the election must continue, so the solution is for Macky to respect the Senegalese Constitution, respect Senegal people, and allow them to elect their leader,” activist Jaw stated.

The political crisis in Senegal has raised concerns about the future of democracy in the region, with many calling on President Sall to uphold the constitutional principles and allow the people to elect the next leader of their choice freely.

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