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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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Leadership: Power Rotation in Edo State will bring more Unity, fairness-Edo Vibrant Volunteers



Jeph Ajayi
A group known  as Edo Vibrant Volunteers has called for a rotating leadership positions among different regions or groups within our state saying that  the rotation  will no doubt  promote unity, fairness, and a sense of belonging among all citizens. 

In statement jointly signed by Amb Charity OsagieCoordinator, Prince Smart Okosun Dep. Leader, Chief Mrs Lilian Efe Secretary, Dr. Mrs Edith Okojie Woman Leader and Chief Emsaun IkaMember on Tuesday.

According to the statement,  we write to respectfully express our perspective regarding the issue of power rotation in our esteemed state. 

“While we deeply respect your position and the traditions that have guided our community for generations, we believe it is essential to consider the broader principles of democracy and inclusivity in governance.

“As we strive for progress and development in our state, it is crucial to ensure that every segment of our society feels represented and empowered. 

“Power rotation serves as a mechanism to foster inclusivity and equal opportunity for all citizens, regardless of their background or affiliation.

“By rotating leadership positions among different regions or groups within our state, we can promote unity, fairness, and a sense of belonging among all citizens. 

“This approach also allows for the equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, which are essential for sustainable development and social cohesion.”

The statement added that “Furthermore, embracing the principle of power rotation aligns with the values of democracy and participatory governance, where the voice of every individual matters and contributes to the collective welfare of our society. 

“It fosters transparency, accountability, and the ability to address the diverse needs and concerns of our people effectively.

“We understand that change can be challenging, especially when it involves longstanding traditions and beliefs. However, we believe that embracing diversity and adaptability is essential for the progress and prosperity of our state. 

“By embracing power rotation, we can move forward as a more united and inclusive community, where every citizen has the opportunity to contribute to our shared success.
“We respectfully urge the good citizens of Edo State to reconsider their stance on this matter and to engage in open dialogue with stakeholders from all walks of life. 

“Together, we can work towards a future where our state thrives as a shining example of democracy, fairness, and unity.

“Thank you for considering our perspective, and we  look forward to a lasting solution that will foster the growth of our State. Thus a new Edo is possible”

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