Senegal’s opposition party calls court ruling politically motivated.


On Tuesday, Ousmane Sonko’s party characterized a court ruling that could prevent him from running in next year’s election as judicial harassment intended to derail President Macky Sall’s rival.

The statement is Sonko’s first official response to the court’s decision on Monday to extend his suspended sentence in a libel case to a length that could make the popular politician ineligible to run in the February presidential election if an appeal is unsuccessful.

“This verdict, concocted at the Palais de la Republique (presidential residence), hardly surprises us and does not change anything about our party’s unanimous decision to put forward the candidacy of Sonko for the presidential election,” his party Pastef stated.

Authorities have denied Sonko and his supporters’ claims that they are using the legal system to keep him out of the presidential race, causing tensions in the otherwise peaceful West African country.

Pastef did not say whether Sonko would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court within the allotted six days, but it did announce a press conference for Wednesday to discuss “the party’s action plan to resist the oppression of Macky Sall.”

Senegal, which gained independence from France in 1960, is widely regarded as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies; however, protests in recent years have been fueled by Sonko’s protracted legal saga and fears that Sall will seek a third term.

Some Senegalese are concerned that President Sall will use a recent constitutional amendment to extend his mandate beyond 2024.

Tensions have been rising since the ruling on Monday. People in Dakar will protest on Friday against Sall’s third-term ambitions and the authorities’ use of the justice system for political purposes.


Related Posts

Illuminating the Promise of Africa.

Receive captivating stories direct to your inbox that reveal the cultures, innovations, and changemakers shaping the continent.