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Sat. May 25, 2024
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Francophone Pandemic in Africa
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On the 4th of February 2024, President Macky Sall of Senegal appeared on national TV to announce that the presidential elections, initially scheduled for the 25th of February 2024, had been indefinitely postponed. The reasons provided were not convincing for many, both within and outside his political base.

President Macky Sall, being term-limited, had declared last year that he wouldn't seek a third term, but protests were required to elicit this statement. The most popular opposition candidate was controversially barred, and the President's favored successor faced challenges in opinion polls, indicating a potential victory for an opposition member.

Senegal, known for its stable democracy, has been critical of military coups in neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, closing its borders and imposing sanctions. As a close ally of France, the decision to postpone elections might impact France's image, reinforcing the perception that it supports leaders in ex-colonies over the interests of their people.

In a region that has witnessed military coups in francophone countries, the situation in Senegal could provide an opportunity for France and the West to restore their image. By using its influence, France could pressure President Macky Sall to hold timely elections, demonstrating support for the people.

2024 is significant for Senegal, with petroleum resources expected to contribute substantial income. Critics speculate that President Macky Sall's motive for delaying elections is to remain in power and gain access to these riches. Regardless of the veracity of these claims, international intervention is crucial to ensure elections proceed. Failure to do so may strengthen anti-democratic sentiments, contributing to what some term the "Francophone Pandemic" across Africa.

Anti-democratic military regimes have seen an increase in popularity in recent times due to their populist and purported anti-imperialist slogans. It's important to note that these come at the expense of democratic values, human rights, and political freedoms.

It's crucial to recognize that while authoritarian regimes may experience short-term benefits, the long-term consequences often involve human rights abuses, suppression of freedoms, and challenges to global stability. So, what is happening in Senegal right now is a consequence of not addressing the fundamental causes from years ago in faraway places like Mali and will continue to spread if it's not corrected.

Oumar Fofana is a freelance writer for IA-Forum.

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