Popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko urged to stand up to President Macky Sall
Political analysts in Senegal and in the diaspora are urging popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko who is facing trial on charges of rape, and making death threats against an employee of a beauty salon in Dakar to stand up to President Macky Sall.
Sonko who is aged 48, has enough political support in Senegal to stand up against President Macky Sall. The secret known is that he has the potential to command the electorate in Dakar to storm the presidential palace, the national parliament, and the judiciary.
Sonko is the president of the PASTEF-Patriots party, and he came in third in the 2019 election against incumbent President Macky Sall. Senegal which is traditionally a beacon of stability in troubled West Africa, is experiencing political tensions occasioned by Sall’s refusal to rule out running for a third term as president.
The other secret known is that Sall was voted into office for the first time because the electorate in Senegal saw him as a reformer. And indeed, among the reforms he made was to reduce the presidential term of office from seven to five years and promising he will only have two terms.
But now, citizens do not understand him anymore and suspect that he is planning to use the numbers of his party in Parliament to amend the constitution and remove term limits so that he can run for the presidency again for the third term.
In March 2023, Sonko was sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence for defamation and insults against the tourism minister. According to the Senegal laws, if a person has been convicted and given a sentence of six months or more, such a person is disqualified to stand for presidency.
The current trial on charges of rape, and making death threats against an employee of a beauty salon in Dakar, could also result in a conviction and also a longer sentence.
Thus, technically Sonko will be disqualified from contesting in the next elections which would virtually leave Sall as the only leader worth his salt.