The paradox of the current events is that while they are serious, they look like a grotesque farce. The feeling that Macky Sall is setting no limits is worrisome. Reacting hot is rarely a good idea. One can understand that, in the heat of the action, politicians are forced to do so almost all the time: in a way, the slightest doubt can be fatal to them. But today, with the “Sweet Beauty” affair, the republican ethic is so ridiculed that the urgency of sounding the alarm is also imposed, and urgently, to all. By Boubacar Boris Diop
The paradox of the current events is that while they are serious, they look like a grotesque farce. Thus, the most watched man in Senegal, so wary that he never registers a suitcase in the hold during his plane trips, would have chosen a public place to rape, weapons in hand, a young masseuse of 21 years. She claims to have been sexually abused on several occasions in this place where surveillance cameras are installed, we are told. But above all, not once has the accuser of the leader of Pastef been heard calling for help or struggling to put an end to his “ordeal”. After all, the incriminating facts are supposed to have taken place in a house that does not look very big and where live a dozen people, including the family of the owner of the Sweet Beauty.
Fortunately for Sonko, the apprentice-sorcerers with a slightly disturbed mind did not foresee that the latter would not enter their game. His speech, with remarkable clarity, showed that cynical people lurking in the shadows exploited the inexperience – not to mention the psychological fragility of Adja Raby Sarr – and his financial distress, to destroy a man more perceived as a mortal enemy than as a mere political adversary.
The height of amateurism was to imagine that, in our country as it stands, such a case could remain strictly private. It only took a few hours for it to become so political that it relegated all the other subjects of national life, including a pandemic each day that is a little more lethal. The polarization, in a context of deaf popular discontent, is obviously at the expense of the Macky Sall regime. We don’t see with such a bad start what miracle his henchmen could convince anyone of Sonko’s guilt. In any case, whatever their alleged evidence, it will be rejected with contempt by the court of opinion, the only one that works in a democratic country. Nor is it necessary to be a Sonko supporter to guess that the leader of Pastef will emerge politely strengthened from this event. The support that converges on him from all sides will not contribute much to legitimize him as a major political figure. Until now its political importance was mainly due to the impetus of a youth which had made it the depository of its hopes. Here it is, perhaps earlier than expected, taking the thickness of an essential actor of the public scene.
But in these times of high social tension, what is at stake goes far beyond the political destiny of such or such individuality. This is the dignity of Senegalese democracy, whose values are so joyfully trampled upon. The truth is that those who should have protected it are simply soiling it. No obscenity or oddity is lacking in the appeal: it is a question of a woman raped, very real but become a ghost immediately her complaint lodged; of the sperm of an honest father of family – let us forget for a moment the politician – conveyed nightly, apparentlyhe went to a laboratory; to a massage parlour owner who was the victim of moral torture and attempted corruption to make him change his testimony; to a Public Prosecutor, Bassirou Guèye, of a relentless docility to political authority; the perfectly illegal summoning of Deputy Ousmane Sonko to the “Research Section”, that is to say in contempt of his parliamentary immunity; and, equally illegally, the encirclement of his home by tanks of combat.
As if all this were not enough, the National Assembly is convened this Thursday, February 11, 2021 to deliver it to justice that, as sad as it is terrible, the litigants no longer take seriously.
The total control of the Executive over the Judiciary and the Legislative shows that in this country, all the powers are concentrated in the hands of one man, the President of the Republic. These institutions are supposed to constitute a triangle, but this one is of a very particular kind in that it has only one side.
Senegal is not, however, the awful dictatorship that some complain to portray, and in any case, this pervasive presidentialism is not new. However, it has never been so dangerous and caricatural. The feeling that President Macky Sall is not setting any limits is quite worrisome. By acting in such a cavalier manner, he shows how little attention he pays not only to the common Senegalese but also to his allies.
This last point deserves a moment’s attention.
Some of Macky Sall’s companions are known and respected for having fought their lives for the progress and sovereignty of Senegal. Whether they decided at some point to support Macky Sall doesn’t really matter: the real political life is made up of these back and forth and cross-breeds, it’s only the delicious chaos of political politics in the Tropics. Nothing too bad about it. What remains more difficult to accept is that such far-sighted intellectuals of great strength of character give today – on the outside at least – the impression of being literally paralyzed in front of the Head of State. In a normal situation, it should be able to say from time to time that there is a red line that some of its allies, regardless of their electoral weight, would not allow it to cross. The Ubuesque situation we have been living in for a few days is typical of a country where no one dares to whisper the slightest reservation in the boss’s ear.
And it’s not that nobody wants to. Indeed, it may well be that even in his party, executives and activists, regardless of their hostility to Ousmane Sonko – one can perfectly understand it – are embarrassed to see their leader shoot themselves so often in the foot.
To explain his erratic behavior, several precedents are quoted these days, from Karim Wade to Aminata Touré, passing by Khalifa Sall, all suspected of eyeing the presidential chair, a serious crime if it is. Someone should have told the President that the jug is going to the water and in the end it is going to break. The clumsy attempt to eliminate Sonko, doomed to failure, risks reminding him bitterly. The leader of Pastef could take advantage of the feeling increasingly shared that too much is too much.
It is possible that the strategists of the power have wanted, by this provocation, to test the capacities of resistance of Pastef, to ensure that, as the propaganda of the regime repeats it enviously, that it is only “the party of social networks”. The result must have been disappointing: in a very short time, Senegal found itself in an almost insurrectionary situation not only in certain Dakar neighbourhoods but also in cities such as Louga, Bignona, Mbour and Ziguinchor, this list is very likely to grow if we do not put an end to this trousers as quickly as possible. Last but not least, the beginning of internationalization that we are witnessing makes political sense in view of the love coast of Pastef in the diaspora.
In short, this inconclusive experiment should bring Macky Sall to his senses. Above all, it gives him an unpleasant foretaste of the serious obstacles he will have to overcome to impose a third candidacy. It will simply be mission impossible, even if the examples of Ouattara and Condé could incite him to persist.
The only thing Macky Sall should be doing is resigning himself to the idea that you can’t burn a country to the ground on the pretext of wanting to continue to lead it. Between April 1960 and 2021, tens of millions of sons from Senegal lived there and still live there. Among them, only four had the honour of being its head of state. Millions of others are living very well the fact that they have never had to preside over any country and many of them are no less capable than Macky Sall. On the contrary…