Senegal Deaths Over Delayed Presidential Election (ECOWAS)
Michiyo Watanabe and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
President Macky Sall of Senegal delayed the presidential election meant to be held on February 25. He claims the poll was threatened by electoral disputes undermining the planned election. However, opposition forces – and protesters – counter that it is an “institutional coup.”
The West African region (encompassing the Sahel region) is witnessing increasing political convulsions concerning democracy and military coups. Yet, the crisis in Senegal isn’t connected to a military coup – or fighting Islamist terrorist groups. Therefore, the crisis is based on politics and power concentration – if Sall gains from the delayed presidential election.
Lawmakers extended the political mandate of the leader of Senegal for another 10 months – after agreeing with his claims over the eligibility of some presidential candidates.
Naturally, opposition forces and protesters feel bitter about this.
Lee Jay Walker says, “ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) is already in crisis after attempts by Nigeria and other nations to impose their collective decision-making on Niger backfired. Hence, bellicose statements – notably emanating from Nigeria – resulted in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger signing the Alliance of Sahel States and ultimately snubbing ECOWAS.”
Voice of America reports, “As the public outcry mounts, the West African regional bloc ECOWAS and foreign powers have urged Sall to put the country back on a regular electoral footing.”
Guy Marius Sagna (opposition lawmaker to the deeds of Sall) said, “If President Macky Sall does not restore power to us on April 3, we will set up a parallel government of national unity.”
The BBC reports, “The country’s mass protests erupted last weekend. On Friday, demonstrators in Dakar fought running battles with security forces, throwing stones and burning tyres.”
Sall denies that he seeks to preserve political power.
ECOWAS – already weakened by recent events concerning Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger – seeks political stability in Senegal.
Democracy and the transition of power in Senegal are witnessing a turbulent period.
Three deaths have been reported since protests broke out.
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