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Political crisis in Senegal: WACSOF Calls for respect for the constitution, urges ECOWAS, African Union to take their responsibilities more clearly



Joel Ajayi 

The West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) is closely following the electoral process in SENEGAL. WACSOF learned with great surprise and regret of the announced postponement of the date of the presidential elections, in a televised address on February 03, 2024 by President Macky Sall. 

The elections were scheduled for February 25, 2024, and the electoral campaign was about to start at midnight on February 04. According to the constitution, the end of President Macky Sall’s 2nd term is set for April 02, 2024, the date on which he must hand over power to his newly elected successor.

 Following the announcement, scenes of violence broke out in the streets and at the National Assembly. Demonstrations were brutally repressed by the forces of law and order. 

Mass arrests were made of demonstrators and political leaders, including Mme AMINATA TOURÉ (former prime minister turned opponent and re-elected presidential candidate), MPs GUY MARIUS SAGNA, SEYDINA OUMA TOURÉ, CHEICKH ALIOU BEYE, ABASS FALL, PROF DAOUDA NDIAYE (leader of a citizens’ movement and qualified presidential candidate).

In the mean time, Mobile Internet was cut without forgetting the withdrawal of the broadcasting license of WALFADJIRI TV.

During a session of the national assembly on February 5, 2014, opposition deputies were evacuated from the premises of the national assembly by the Senegalese army.

This evacuation was followed by the vote, without the opposition parliamentarian, of postponement of the presidential elections to December 15 2024, de facto extending the mandate of President Macky Sall beyond the limits prescribed by the constitution of Senegal.

For several months, WACSOF has noted a continual deterioration of the political climate which is reflected in a radicalization of political positions, a judicialization of political relations and a skyrocketing level of violence in SENEGAL.

WACSOF wishes to recall that in addition to being required to respect the AFRICAN CHARTER ON DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE (ACDEG), SENEGAL is a signatory to the ECOWAS PROTOCOL ON DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE (Protocol A/SP1 /12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance / Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security / DEC 2001), in particular the following extracts:

ARTICLE 21. No substantial changes will be made to electoral laws during the six (6) months preceding the elections, except with the consent of the majority of political actors.

2. All elections are organized on the dates or periods fixed by the Constitution or electoral laws.

ARTICLE 22: The use of weapons to disperse non-violent meetings or demonstrations is prohibited. Whenever a demonstration becomes violent, only the use of minimal and/or proportionate force is authorized.

In view of the above, the WACSOF

1. Condemns any act, both civil and military, of violation of the constitution and existing legal frameworks.

2. Calls on the Senegalese authorities to be the light that protects the constitutional order.

3. Recalls that the postponement of the presidential election places Senegal on an unprecedented and dangerous path away from the constitution, which threatens its democracy and would thus undermine decades of progress in this island of democracy in Africa. Contempt for the constitution is one of the stages preceding dictatorship.

4. Calls on the authorities to do their utmost to maintain the electoral calendar which respects the constitution.

5. Calls on the authorities to open civic space, digital space, media space and political space.

6. Calls on ECOWAS and the AFRICAN UNION to side with the people by clearly and firmly taking their responsibilities while avoiding variable treatment in the face of any act of violation of the constitutional order, both civil and military.

7. Calls on Civil Society and stakeholders to remain mobilized and play their roles peacefully for a peaceful resolution.

8. Remains seized of the Senegalese situation and affirms its availability to work with ECOWAS and any other stakeholder for a peaceful resolution of the crisis thus unnecessarily opened. 

 WACSOF is Civil Society organization with more than 1000 Member Organizations, the WEST AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM (WACSOF) is the umbrella network of the Civil Society in West Africa, covering 18 thematic areas, with representation in 15 countries of ECOWAS.

WACSOF is the channel for institutionalized dialogue between civil society organizations and ECOWAS. WACSOF builds capacity, advocates, mobilizes civil society, engages in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies for a prosperous, stable and peaceful Africa.

 WACSOF is an excellent channel, a one-stop-shop for systematic engagement between institutions and civil society organizations, for impactful results. www.Wacsof-Foscao.Org.

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One-off windfall tax on banks forex profit, creative revenue initiative for capital projects -TMSG



Joel Ajayi

The one – off windfall tax policy on profits made by banks on foreign exchange revaluation by the President Bola Tinubu administration has been described as a product of ingenuity and creativity.

The Tinubu Media Support Group (TMSG) which made this assertiom said that only a creative mind like President Bola Tinubu could come up with this innovation of one-off windfall tax on profits made by banks from foreign exchange revaluation of 2023.

In a statement signed by its Chairman Emeka Nwankpa and Secretary Dapo Okubanjo, the group added that the government’s decision to deploy proceeds from the tax to infrastructure development is a good way of getting the banks to give back to the society and participate more concretely in national development.

Going down the memory lane, the TMSG recounted that When the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unified the multiple foreign exchange rates last year, it was clear to every discerning Nigerian that commercial banks in the country would make a tidy profit from the policy.

“So it was not a surprise that many of the banks which barely made N5bn in foreign exchange gains in 2022 were posting profits as high as N26bn in their financial statements in the subsequent year.

For example, one of Nigeria’s biggest commercial banks holding company posted a revaluation gain of N441.79bn last year, far outsripping a meagre N57.94bn it recorded in 2022.

“We also have it on good authority that nine of Nigeria’s top banks made over N2tn in the first nine months of 2023 after the CBN floated the naira but the good thing is that they were open enough to declare it as gains from the revaluation of foreign currency-denominated assets and liabilities held in their non-trading books.

“It is a good thing, however, that the President Bola Tinubu administration has deemed it fit to impose a one-time windfall tax of 50% on the banks’ forex gains which, according to provisions of the amendment sought to the Financial Act, would be ploughed into capital infrastructure development, education and health care projects lined up in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

“There is a strong possibility that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will collect in excess of N1tn from the windfall tax and we are convinced that the Tinubu administration will ensure judicious use of the revenue in line with provisions of the proposed amendment to the act.

“We know that some tax and advisory service firms have been expressing concerns about what they consider as drawbacks, but we are opting to look at the positives.

“We see it as a better option to funding the additional N6tn made to the 2024 budget rather than employing measures that will increase the tax burden of the average Nigerian.

“It is a creative endeavor that will still see the banks holding on to half of the massive gains they made at the expense of Nigerians in one year. So it is a win-win situation which will see the banks give back to the society.”

The pro-Tinubu group urged state holders in the banking industry to see the proposed tax as their contribution to national development.


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