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Senegal: government pledges firmness ahead of Sonko’s return to Dakar


Government pledges firmness ahead of Sonko’s return to Dakar

The Senegalese government, determined to maintain public order, has vowed to stand firm against any efforts to disrupt it. Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, facing potential disqualification for the 2024 presidential election, plans to embark on a journey to Dakar with a popular convoy. Government spokesman Abdou Karim Fofana assured the press, stating, “Regardless of the challenges, we will ensure the preservation of public order and the peace of mind of the Senegalese people.”

Sonko's return
People of senegal

He further added, “We will not allow anyone to disturb public order.” Following his trial on charges of rape held in absentia on Tuesday, Ousmane Sonko announced in Ziguinchor on Wednesday his intention to return to Dakar by road, turning the 500-kilometer trip into a “freedom caravan” to wage “the final battle” against President Macky Sall.

Mr. Fofana explained, “As long as he abides by the laws and regulations, marching on Dakar is not an issue.” He also noted that no demonstration declaration had been filed to their knowledge, speaking on Thursday afternoon. The government spokesperson questioned whether Mr. Sonko was deliberately seeking political arrest to evade the disgrace of a criminal conviction “based on sordid stories.”


As of Thursday afternoon, Mr. Sonko’s convoy had not departed from Ziguinchor, and no visible preparations were observed on-site by AFP journalists. The opposition leader expressed his intention to leave on Thursday or at the latest on Friday.


Ousmane Sonko, the leader of the Pastef-les Patriotes party, who ranked third in the 2019 presidential race, was notably absent from his rape trial, citing concerns for his safety and raising doubts about the impartiality of the judiciary. He has consistently denied the allegations, asserting that the authorities are plotting to exclude him from the presidential election.


Mr. Sonko’s eligibility is already jeopardized by a six-month suspended sentence for defamation against a minister.


In 2021, his arrest while traveling in a motorcade to the court where he had been summoned, coinciding with the emergence of the alleged rape case, led to several days of riots resulting in at least a dozen fatalities.


Tensions are anticipated to escalate again around June 1st when the verdict is expected to be announced.


The looming verdict on June 1st intensifies the anticipation of heightened tensions in the country. The outcome of the trial holds significant implications not only for Ousmane Sonko but also for the political landscape of Senegal. Supporters of Sonko view him as a charismatic leader who champions the rights of the marginalized and challenges the establishment. On the other hand, critics accuse him of destabilizing the country and exploiting public sentiment for personal gain.


The events surrounding Sonko’s rape trial and his subsequent plans to march to Dakar have stirred a familiar atmosphere of uncertainty and unease. Memories of the violent riots that erupted in 2021 still linger, and both the government and the opposition are aware of the potential for further unrest. The Senegalese authorities are confronted with the delicate task of ensuring security while respecting the rights of citizens to express their grievances peacefully.


President Macky Sall, who faces mounting pressure from opposition forces and a restless population, must navigate these turbulent waters cautiously. The outcome of the trial will undoubtedly influence the political landscape leading up to the 2024 presidential election. As the leader of the country, Sall finds himself in a precarious position, seeking to maintain stability and preserve the democratic process while addressing the concerns and demands of the opposition.


The international community closely watches these developments, recognizing the significance of Senegal as a beacon of democracy in West Africa. Calls for transparency, fairness, and respect for human rights echo across various diplomatic circles, urging all parties involved to uphold democratic principles and engage in constructive dialogue. The Senegalese people, too, eagerly await the resolution of this critical chapter, hoping for a peaceful and inclusive future for their country.


As the days draw closer to June 1st, the atmosphere in Senegal remains charged with anticipation, uncertainty, and a longing for a resolution that will bring stability and unity. The impact of the trial’s verdict will reverberate not only within the borders of Senegal but throughout the region, as it serves as a test of the country’s commitment to democratic values and the rule of law. The eyes of the world remain fixed on Senegal, waiting to witness the next chapter in its political journey.




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My name is Ernest Arthur, a writer for MyNewsAfrica under the stage name Ernest East. I was born and raised in Dunkwa-On-Offin, a small town in the central Region of Ghana. As a journalist, I hold myself to high standards of accuracy, fairness, and integrity in my reporting. I'm committed to upholding the principles of journalism and to bringing transparency and truth to the news. Today, I stand tall as one of Ghana's most respected journalists, and I'm proud to have contributed to the growth and development of the country's media landscape. I'm excited about the future and can't wait to continue sharing stories and making a difference through my work. Email: Watsap:+233553678245