Senegal’s parliament backed late Monday (Feb. 05) the postponement of the February 25 election and the extension of the mandate of president Macky Sall which was due to expire on April 2nd.
The news hit like a bomb and has divided Senegalese since.
“Just like thousands of Senegalese, I feel frustrated because we didn’t expect Macky Sall to delay the presidential election. We must regard this as a constitutional coup,” Dakar resident Adama says.
Lamine, another resident doubles down: “I was already disappointed, and my disappointment has only grown because Macky Sall told us he had enshrined the Constitution so that no one could change it no matter what.”
“When he decided to reduce his mandate to 5 years, he went to the Constitutional Council. This time around, he turned to Parliament. I think they are playing with us, Senegalese. Macky Sall is playing with the people and that is very grave.”
Even though the development seemed the past few weeks, the shock has been hard to take. According to political science Dr. Mouhamed Alimou, the move by the current regime is undemocratic.
“This move is the kind of authoritarian practice you only see in authoritarian regimes. I think we lived in Senegal for a long time on a haven,” he says
“People talked about Senegal’s exceptional democracy, spoke of Senegal as a beacon of stability, a pioneer of the multi-party system, a country where there is freedom of speech, of the press. This model has been crumbling for some time now. This is what we are grappling with, and we need to reinvent this model.
The vote by lawmakers opens up a phase of incertitude. Everyone in Senegal fears the reaction of the opposition. Most opposition leaders have called for a large mobilization against what they call an abuse of power.