Senegal local government elections: A signal to the PDS and president wade
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It should be clear to all politicians that the ballot is a very powerful political instrument. In this case, politicians should begin to respect those who put them in power. The just concluded local government elections in Senegal and the landslide victory for the opposition coalition, Bennoo Siggil Senegal, is a classical example.
Since the announcement of provisional results, many observers in Senegal and abroad have been giving different analyses of the results of the polls. But a lot of these analyses still cannot explain why President Wade and the ruling PDS lost the elections to the opposition Bennoo Siggil Senegal. Without wasting much time, here is what I believe to be responsible for the defeat of the ruling PDS.
Karim Wade’s appearance in the political landscape in Senegal is a major factor in the defeat of his father's party. For quite a long time now, most Senegalese were made to believe that President Wade’s intention is to groom his only son for the top job, which had apparently created some division within the ruling PDS party. Also, most Senegalese felt that it will not be fair for Karim to inherit power directly from his father since Senegal is not a monarchy.
President Wade has this time lost in his political calculation. Yes, tipping Karim for the mayor of Dakar would have automatically qualified the French-born to lead the Senate and subsequently become president if Wade retires from office or dies. The second reason is President Wade's last minute campaign for his party. Most Senegalese have considered the president as someone who doesn't care or respect the constitution. This has again made him quite unpopular despite the fact that he said his tour of the country was to assess its economic situation. The last one and the most painful one is his last minute disappointment from people he considered his loyalist. For example, Wade pumped millions of CFA francs in the region of St. Lousis and had about six ministers campaigning for him, but they all lost the election to the young, versatile politician, Cheichk Bamba Dieye.
Finally, out of the fourteen administrative regions of Senegal, the ruling PDS and president Wade only captured three regions - Kedougou, Ziguinchor and Tambacounda, although it is not yet clear whether they won Tambacounda. I think it is high time for politicians to be cognisant of the fact that politics is not only about money, but honesty and steadfastness. Thank you.
Author: Alpha Jallow, Dakar