Crisis in Senegal: Cédéao leader Bola Tinubu goes to Dakar

Three young people have died since Friday as part of demonstrations against the postponement of the presidential election, initially scheduled for February 25 and postponed to December 15. In this very tense context, the Nigerian president at the head of ECOWAS is expected in Dakar this Monday.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu (right) speaks with his aide during the 64th ordinary session of heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in Abuja on December 10, 2023. AFP - KOLA SULAIMON

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With our special correspondent in Dakar,

Charlotte Idrac

President Bola Tinubu will make an express one-day visit to Dakar, for a meeting with President Macky Sall. In a press release last week, ECOWAS called on Senegal to “ 

urgently restore the electoral calendar


For its part, the West African Civil Society Forum (Foscao) criticizes ECOWAS and the African Union after President Macky Sall's decision to postpone the presidential election. In a press release, this Forum, which brings together a thousand civil society organizations in West Africa, calls on the two institutions to take their responsibilities. For the regional executive director of Foscao Komlan Messié, their credibility is at stake. “ 

We must call a spade a spade

: it is a constitutional coup d’état. It must be treated as such and avoid treatments with variable geometry. This is why we are calling on ECOWAS and the African Union to act very quickly and use the same energy that they use to condemn military coups, they must use the same energy to condemn this coup. Constitutional state

 ,” he urges.

According to him, “ 

ECOWAS has plenty of mechanisms. We must already send a delegation to the Senegalese authorities immediately to trigger the mediation process and put pressure on the authorities to clearly tell them that this is unconstitutional. There is also the Council of Elders which must be delegated quickly to meet President Macky Sall to bring him to his senses.



The right to demonstrate has become an exception


The protest

has left three people dead since Friday, and “ 

266 people have been arrested

 ” according to the opposition coalition which supports Bassirou Diomaye Faye, the candidate chosen by Ousmane Sonko. At a press conference this Sunday, its representatives launched an appeal to the Constitutional Council, while an appeal was filed to try to cancel the postponement. “ 

We ask the Constitutional Council: ladies and gentlemen, there are seven Senegalese. The future of your country is today in your hands

,” said former Prime Minister Aminata Touré.

The opposition coalition also called for people to join the demonstration planned for Tuesday by the civil society collective Aar Sunu Election (“Let’s protect our election”). For Seydi Gassama, executive director of Amnesty International's Senegal section, the situation is “ 

extremely worrying

 ”: “ 

arrests continue because the police are using drones to film people participating in demonstrations. All the violence comes from the fact that in this country, the right to demonstrate has become an exception, which obviously pushes young people to undertake acts of defiance and to a brutal and totally disproportionate response from the defense and security forces.

 » Amnesty Senegal calls on the Ministry of the Interior and the Dakar prefecture to authorize the next demonstration.

Sign of relaxation? This Sunday evening

, the authorities reinstated

the license of the private channel Walf TV, withdrawn on February 4 the day after the announcement of the postponement of the vote for “ 

incitement to violence


In a new statement on Sunday, the European Union called on the authorities in Dakar to “ 

guarantee fundamental freedoms


Read alsoSenegal: playing with institutions, peace and stability is a very bad idea


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