Senegal Political Crises: Can Sonko’s Release Pay For The Vandalisation?

The leader of the Pastef party Ousmane Sonko– who is faced with rape allegations appeared in court on Monday which led to his release.
But the question that might come to one’s mind is can Ousmane Sonko’s pay for the lost and damages.

Violence and Vandalisation became the main headlines emerging from the West African nation– Senegal since the arrest of a top opposition leader. According to Amnesty International, at least eight people have died since the beginning of the unrest.
The Sisters Show recently spoke with some Senegalese youths who give their take on what one of the most peaceful countries in West Africa is facing.
Here is what they have to say:

Yoro Diallo, a 22-year-old Business School graduate residing in suburban parts of Dakar.

“As a patriot who deeply values democracy, I cannot help but feel tremendously sad in the wake of these political crises that are shaking my homeland. Senegal has always set the example when it comes to democracy and what we’ve been building so diligently over the past decades seems to be crumbling down.

Needless to say, this whole situation resembles a thoroughly prepared set-up to get rid of the opposition. Karim Wade was put away when his chances of becoming president skyrocketed, and Khalifa Sall found himself behind bars when he started proving to be a noteworthy presidential candidate. Today, just by magic, Sonko is in the same situation; so there’s a conspicuous pattern. It’s normal for citizens to go on strike when they feel betrayed because they’re always the most impacted ones.
That being said, I do not condone how my fellow citizens have been proceeding. The shops and malls that have been vandalized are owned by other Senegalese people, not French people; it’s our brothers and sisters who work there. Even if it was the other way round, looting is never a solution. Not only does it tarnish our image before the international community, but it also hurts our economy.

If I were to meet President Macky Sall today, I would most definitely tell him that Senegal is a land of peace, and he doesn’t want to go down in history as the one who once tried to change that.”

Samba Cisse a 27-year-old Senegalese teacher from Rufisque, Dakar, Senegal.

“The current situation of the country is something many observers were expecting since this “rape” case erupted in the public place. the president wants no serious contender in the opposition. The questions many are asking is why is he trying to annihilate the opposition since he cannot run for a 3rd term according to the constitution. Who knows? Maybe he wants to force a 3rd term. Hopefully, he won’t make the same mistake his predecessor made.
I think not all the young people who took to the streets to demonstrate had the same objective. If some were protesting against the abuse of power Sonko is a victim of, others took advantage of the situation to loot public places and steal merchandises from Auchan supermarkets. They especially chose “Auchan” and “Total” (petrol stations) because these are French firms and many citizens can’t bear the presence of France on the territory because they believe that they are just here to rip us off of our money and send it back to their country.
If I was to Macky Sall today, I will just ask him to devote his 3 remaining years as head of State to maintaining social cohesion and peace in the country. I will also urge him to leave the opposition be in their role because in all democracies there should be an opposition side. In this period of Covid19, we should all be pulling towards the same directions to fight the virus. political upheavals can only lead to demonstrations here and there and the time is inopportune for gatherings.”

Mouhammed Mbaye Garmi, a third-year Journalism student from Dakar.

“Everyone knows how Ousmane Sonko was arrested. It was politically motivated. For the rape allegations, the government should have given away for justice to do its work instead of interfering between two citizens. Regarding the vandalization, we should blame Macky Sall and his government because if they have done the necessary things, then the public wouldn’t take the streets”.

 

(This article was originally published on the 7th March 2021 and updated on the 8th after Sonko’s release)

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