By Human Rights Specialist Prof. Denis Ndour
This afternoon, the message from the party leader, Macky SALL, guardian of the Constitution, sounded like a hammer blow to the heads of many Senegalese citizens: how can we cancel an electoral process on the eve of the electoral campaign? Suppose the fundamental “mother law” constitutes our bulwark to save our republic and democracy. In that case, the people should ensure that it is not considered a simple piece of paper that someone can trample on without consequences.
By renouncing the 3rd mandate, Macky Sall had given his word to remain equidistant from the process while committing to ensuring compliance with the electoral calendar and a transparent and inclusive election. Today, he showed us that he can use his powers on the Senegalese people to impose his agenda shared by his supporters and allies.
Indeed, the arguments put forward to justify his decision are not strong enough to convince the Senegalese because there is currently no institutional crisis, nor chaos, for the people to approve such a decision. On the contrary, the people feel betrayed by this last-minute transfer at a time when citizens were awaiting the offers of social projects from the twenty candidates validated by the constitutional council.
First, it violated ARTICLE 2 of PROTOCOL A/SP1/12/01 ON DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE ADDITIONAL TO THE PROTOCOL RELATING TO THE MECHANISM FOR PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT, SETTLEMENT OF CONFLICTS, MAINTAINING PEACE AND OF SECURITY which stipulates this:
- No substantial electoral law reform must occur in the six (6) months preceding the elections without the consent of a large majority of political actors.
- Elections at all levels must occur on the dates or periods the Constitution or electoral laws fixed.
Then this cancellation violates the Constitution in its Article 31 since the constitutional revision has not yet taken place: “The ballot for the election of the President of the Republic takes place on forty-five clear days at most and thirty clear days at least before the date of expiration of the mandate of the President of the Republic in office. »
Finally, what is the point of a constitution if the one who received the mission to keep it does not respect it?
A 2nd national dialogue at this stage is not at all relevant. However, the next president must work for genuine national reconciliation to the detriment of a circumstantial dialogue from which certain political actors would benefit from their interests.
Furthermore, how can we justify the action of deputies who are so involved in this corruption affair when several even more serious scandals have taken place in the recent past: political leaders, journalists, and honest citizens have been unjustly imprisoned during this legislature, and yet there have been no parliamentary inquiries.
Why should ongoing judicial or parliamentary investigations block the electoral process, knowing that the time of justice is not that of litigants?
Yes, investigations continue to shed light on this alleged corruption of two constitutional judges, but at the same time, the electoral process continues.
In future reforms to avoid any possible presidential omnipotence, it will be necessary to include in the fundamental charter this clause: “the President of the Republic may be dismissed by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly due to a serious violation of the Constitution.” If we have always deplored hyper-presidentialism, it is precisely to avoid abuse of power, in this sense we can refer to the conclusions of the National Conference and the CNRI for the application of balance of the three powers (executive, legislative, and judicial)
Finally, faced with the harmful errors of power with its sounding balloon launched through this cancellation, all of civil society, academics, the responsible political class, and citizens imbued with democratic values should unite for a rapid response to make their contribution by opposing the disastrous objective of the instigators, authors, and accomplices of any possible constitutional coup d’état which an extension of the presidential mandate will materialize.
So let us remain vigilant for a Victory of constitutional justice and democracy, a guarantee of PEACE, stability, and bearer of an image of Senegal so praised throughout the world.