Home SENEGAL SENEGAL – The Bignona Pact for Peace and National Unity

SENEGAL – The Bignona Pact for Peace and National Unity

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Between February 2 and March 13, 2021, our country, Senegal, lived some of the darkest hours of its history. It was shaken to the very depths by the violent repression of the state, to which the Senegalese people responded with a fierce and historic resistance. 

13 young Senegalese fell under the bullets of other compatriots. Nearly 600 were seriously wounded, mutilated or dazzled. These young martyrs, who left in the prime of their lives, as they demonstrated to defend their dream and their idea of democracy and justice, are watching us today from the top of Heaven.

We are gathered here, in Bignona, in this land of Casamance, a beautiful and green region of our great and beautiful country Senegal, to celebrate together their memory.
• Let us pray with the grieving mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, with the lonely widows and the sons and daughters who have become orphans for the rest of the souls of our young brothers who have fallen in Bignona, Dakar, Diaobé-Kabendou, Ndoffane and Medina Sabakh, as well as many injured in other cities of the country;
• Express our support for young people still in prison and call for their release;
• Affirm our active solidarity with the families and loved ones of the victims;
Like other young people of Senegal, those of Bignona came out, the national flag in hand, for most of them, to answer the call of their homeland. They went out to face the arbitrary, to say no to the manipulation of justice, the trivialization of institutions and the privatization of the Republic. They came out to save their democracy.
That is why their sacrifice must not be in vain.And it will not be in vain.
The blood they shed will be the ink with which we write the pages of the future we want.
It will be the cement with which we will rebuild together, brick by brick, the foundations of a strong and united nation, a republic refounded on equality and justice, and a rule of law resolutely at the service of the people.

From this crisis, we draw lessons that must lead to strong, consensual and refoundating decisions around two imperatives:
1- The establishment of a modern republic, based on law, with strong and credible institutions and which places the citizen at the heart of public action;
2- The almost daily preservation and safeguarding of our democratic and social gains, which are still precarious and vulnerable.
These decisions are all the more important as new threats and multiform challenges force us to agree urgently on values, behaviors and positions that are consensual and collectively assumed to spread in society and especially in the political space.

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In fact, discourses and acts that were once marginal, but which have become increasingly audible and ostensible, have appeared in the public space, manipulating and exploiting religious, ethnic, communitarian and regional issues for political purposes.

Such discourse cannot thrive in a country like Senegal, which derives its identity from various sources. This Métis identity is made up of the traditional culture of bainounks, toucouleurs, peuls, mandingues, soninkés, sérères, diolas, wolofs, mancagnes, manjacques, bassaris, pepels, as well as religious, Muslim, Christian and animist values.

Our demographics and our cultures give us great lessons in openness and pluralism. We need to build our democracy on the basis of respect, recognition and acceptance of others.

The quality of our life together is a legacy that we must preserve jealously, and strengthen day after day by drawing inspiration from the teachings of all our religious guides and the values of hospitality, solidarity, honour and dignity that irrigate our society.

Today, from Bignona, we appeal to the entire political class, as well as to all opinion leaders, citizens’ movements and civil society, to seal a pact, the PACT OF BIGNONA, by which we commit ourselves to:
1. acting individually and collectively for national unity, peace and harmony in the political space;
2. to banish from our discourses, our behaviour and our actions anything that may arouse, maintain or encourage hatred and division on religious, ethnic or communitarian grounds;
3. to distance ourselves publicly from any person or group of persons, whether in power, opposition, citizen movements or civil society, who, by act or speech, would provoke or encourage violence and hatred in the political space;
4. to promote and encourage a positive political practice based on respect for others and the promotion of the debate of ideas;
5. to preserve democracy, justice and the rule of law,
6. to set an example for young people and to contribute to their moral rearmament, so that they may become aware of the extent of their possibilities and, as a leading actor, become part of political spaces and productive economic circuits;
7. to work together for the return of a definitive and lasting peace in Casamance
Of course, this appeal will only be effective if it is understood, understood, accepted and applied by all the protagonists of political and public life.

Done at Bignona, Saturday, May 22, 2021

       

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