A group of 24 eminent African intellectuals and Civil Society activists have voiced their concerns about political developments and attendant unrest in Senegal following the unconstitutional postponement of the country’s scheduled presidential election by President Macky Sall.
The group, which met in Abuja on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, in a statement issued after the meeting titled ‘Stop the Constitutional Coup in Senegal’, said it was shocked and utterly disgusted at the use of security operatives to expel opposition parliamentarians from the legislative chamber on Tuesday night for the passage of an unconstitutional Bill extending the tenure of President Sall into a third term and postponing the presidential election earlier scheduled for the February 25, 2024.
The statement endorsed by all the 24 intellectuals and activists, a copy of which was sent to LEADERSHIP, further described the Senegalese government’s action as as clear violation of the rule of law and the democratic rights of the Senegalese people even as they urged the Senegalese government to respect the sanctity of the democratic process.
“We African intellectuals and Civil Society activists meeting in Abuja this 7th February 2024, wish to express our shock and utter disgust at the use of gendarmes to physically expel opposition parliamentarians from the legislative chamber last night for the passage of an unconstitutional Bill extending the tenure of President Macky Sall into a third term and postponing the presidential elections scheduled for the 25th of February 2024.
“This is a clear violation of the rule of law and the democratic rights of the Senegalese people. It is also in violation of the African Union Charter, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; and the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which Senegal has acceded to and domesticated. We therefore urge the Senegalese government to respect the sanctity of the democratic process.
“We have followed with keen interest the determination of the Senegalese people to block all attempts by President Macky Sall to secure a third term and his announcement not to seek such an illegal tenure that is categorically banned by the Constitution of Senegal. It is now clear that his public declaration was a ruse to deceive the people and continue his megalomaniac ambition to extend his rule.
“It is for this reason that he has deployed the police to brutally stop all demonstrations, close down the internet and continue to use the justice system to jail and intimidate all those who oppose his ambition to continue to rule using extra constitutional means.
“President Sall is taking Senegal down the path of political instability, lawlessness and civil unrest and all democratic forces in Africa and the world should converge in a united struggle to stop the drift and maintain Senegal within its democratic tradition.
“We call on the Senegalese people to maintain their dogged struggle for the preservation of democracy. This is a common struggle for all Africans and democratic forces;
“We call on ECOWAS, AU and UN to openly declare the actions of President Sall and the rogue legislators who supported his unconstitutional Bill to be in breach of the Constitution while demanding for an immediate return to the Constitutional order and the scheduled election timeframe.
“Constitutionalism and the organization of elections as and when due are the foundation of democracy which must be preserved,” they stated.
Present at the meeting were; Prof Adele Jinadu; Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi; Dr Kole Shettima, all from Nigeria; Dr Emmanuel Akwetey of the Institute for Democratic Governance, Accra, Ghana; Prof Jibrin Ibrahim, Senior Fellow, Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja; Prof Mohammad Kuna, Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria;
Dr Charmaine Pereira, Independent Scholar, Abuja, and Princess Hamman-Obels, The Electoral Hub, Abuja.
Others are; Moussa Tchangari, Alternative Espaces Citoyens, Niamey;
Adagbo Onoja, Abuja, Nigeria; Dr. Sa’eed Husaini, Abuja, Nigeria; John Odah, Abuja, Nigeria; Samson Itodo, Yiaga Africa, Nigeria; Professor Victor Adetula, University of Jos, Nigeria; Professor Istifanus Zabadi, Bingham University, Nigeria; West Africa Civil Society Institute; Professor Warisu O Ali, Abuja; Professor Remi Aiyede, University of Ibadan; Bernadette French; Gloria Ukpong, The Electoral Forum, Abuja, Nigeria; Everest Amaefule, The Electoral Forum, Abuja, Nigeria; Okechukwu Ndeche, Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Abuja, Nigeria; Dr. Lassane Ouedraogo, Researcher, CDD West Africa, and E.A. Johnson, Electoral Practitioner, The Electoral Forum.