Sunday, February 12, 2012

Senegal: Not Another Africa

Africa is dogged by fragile democratic institutions. The latest example of democratic fragility comes from relatively peaceful Senegal.

 Protests have broken out ahead of the February 26th presidential election after a constitutional court ruled that President Abdoulaye Wade could run for a third term, in spite of a two term limit that Wade himself signed into law after his election in 2001.

Wade had argued that he could run again because he had been elected under the old constitution, a claim the five judges all appointed by Wade, agreed with.

 Last June, Wade attempted to reduce the number of first round votes needed to win from fifty to twenty five percent. Source:

These sound like the actions of a would-be autocrat. Attempting to violate constitutionally prescribed term limits while getting a favorable ruling from judges that Mr. Wade appointed. We cannot have African democracy while we have leaders willing to use constitutions as toilet paper.

Sadly, the type of behavior exhibited by Wade is an all too common story around Africa that the African people cannot and should not tolerate. The people of Senegal can choose to stand for democracy or they can choose to stand for masked tyranny.

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