Senegal. In January, 14 young men were shot dead in Casamanca Province and even more were injured. The men were out to gather firewood and representatives of the separatist Movement for Casamance’s Democratic Forces (MFDC) believed the murders had their basis in conflicts over illegal logging of teak trees. According to Countryaah.com, Dakar is the capital city of Senegal, a country located in Western Africa. The wood is largely smuggled to Gambia with the final destination of China. Others speculated whether those responsible were persons who opposed the MFDC’s negotiations with the government. A few weeks later, the MFDC threatened to suspend the three-year ceasefire because it was considered that the government was using the act as a pretext to arrest innocent MFDC supporters. Over 20 people have so far been arrested by the military accused of murder, membership in an illegal organization and illegal possession of weapons.
In March, Khalifa Sall, mayor of the capital Dakar and one of the country’s leading opposition politicians, was sentenced and two of his employees to five years in prison for, among other things, misuse of public funds. Sall was arrested in the spring of 2017, accused of showing false receipts for the purchase of rice and millet worth about EUR 2.7 million. According to the allegations, the money he had access to would have been used for “political purposes”. The prison sentence was upheld in the Court of Appeal at the end of August. Sall then said he intended to appeal to the Supreme Court and stated that the legal process had political motives.
Khalifa Sall was minister in the 1990s under President Abdou Diouf and became mayor of Dakar in 2009. He has been considered in advance as one of the toughest competitors to President Macky Sall (who is not a relative) in the 2019 election. the president away from him the mayor’s office and because of the verdict he was disqualified from running for office in the upcoming presidential election.
On the same day as the Court of Appeal ruled against Khalifa Sall, the Supreme Court rejected a request from Karim Wade to be given the opportunity to run for election in the 2019. The court justified the decision that Wade was sentenced to more than five years in prison. In 2015, he was sentenced to corruption for six years in prison but was pardoned the following year. Wade is a former minister and son of Macky Sall’s representative in the presidential post, Abdoulaye Wade.
In early September, supporters of the opposition movement National Resistance Front (FRN) protested that Wade and Sall would not be allowed to stand in the elections. The protesters were met by tear gas from the police and several of the leaders were arrested. Thus, the pattern of April was repeated when the opposition reacted with protests on new conditions for who should be allowed to stand in the presidential election. The National Assembly then decided that a candidate must collect around 52,000 signatures in at least seven of the country’s 14 regions and at least 2,000 in each region. The higher demands were justified by the need to limit the number of presidential candidates, not least given that there are about 300 political parties in Senegal.