In Senegal, the national dialogue of Macky Sall divides the opposition

Wednesday, May 31 at 4 p

In Senegal, the national dialogue of Macky Sall divides the opposition

Wednesday, May 31 at 4 p.m. in Dakar, when Senegalese President Macky Sall will kick off the "national" dialogue, another dialogue, "of the peoples" this one, will open a few dozen kilometers from the presidential palace. . The platform of the Forces vives de la nation F24, a bloc of parties and civil society organizations opposed to a possible third candidacy of Macky Sall, wants to respond in its own way to the call launched by the Head of State. According to the presidency, the objective of its dialogue is to find consensus with various actors on the "major questions relating to national life" but the political points will be, by far, the most scrutinized.

Unsurprisingly, Ousmane Sonko will not participate. The leader of the Pastef party very early denounced an appointment designed, according to him, to "eliminate" or "isolate" him from the rest of the opposition. Mr. Sonko, forcibly brought back to Dakar on Sunday by the police, claims to have ended his "freedom caravan" launched from his stronghold of Ziguinchor to attend the parallel dialogue of the F24.

But there are risks hanging over the holding of this meeting. The Dakar prefect said the platform did not seek permission. MP Guy Marius Sagna said he would go in the afternoon "to take Ousmane Sonko home to go to the people's dialogue". Mr. Sonko is still de facto under house arrest, while the whole country is suspended from the decision of the judges which must intervene Thursday, in the trial where he is charged with rape on the person of Adji Sarr.

“The Ministry of the Interior invited the 333 [they are actually 339] political parties (…). Until this moment [hier dans la nuit], we continue to receive requests, "explains Yoro Dia, spokesperson for the Senegalese presidency, emphasizing that certain parties outside the presidential majority will indeed be present. The Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) of former President Abdoulaye Wade is one of the first to have responded favorably to Macky Sall's invitation. He had shunned the last event of its kind, in 2019, but this time the Liberal Party considers that the foundations for a "sincere" dialogue have been laid since the Head of State addressed "for the first time in twelve years" the settlement of the situation of Karim Wade, the son of Abdoulaye Wade, who went into exile in Qatar in 2016 after being convicted three years earlier of illicit enrichment. Would an eventual amnesty be possible?

"Asking all the problems"

It was within the main opposition coalition that the suspense lasted. While Yewwi Askan Wi (YAW) has declared its "categorical rejection" of "false dialogue", the party of former Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall announced on Tuesday that it would participate. "Yewwi has reached its limits in terms of unitary dynamics," said political analyst Mamadou Seck. "The dialogue has somehow anticipated the dissensions", explains Mr. Seck for whom the coalition will end up "shattering" anyway as the 2024 presidential election approaches.

A few hours before the opening of the dialogue, the vagueness persists on the modalities of the national dialogue, to the point of frustrating certain actors. Asked by the private media 7TV, Barthélémy Diaz, yet considered Khalifa Sall's lieutenant, took observers by surprise by announcing that he would not participate in the launch of the exchanges by President Macky Sall. The current mayor of Dakar refuses that Macky Sall's participation in the 2024 presidential election is on the agenda. If he has still not announced his intentions, the Senegalese head of state is indeed suspected of wanting to serve a very controversial third term.

"Those who wanted to set prerequisites, conditions, are wrong, dialogue is the place of debate," says Yoro Dia. "They can come and ask all the problems, that's the spirit of the dialogue," said the spokesperson for the presidency.

Some sensitive issues should be addressed such as that of the sponsorship system and that of the ineligibility criteria contained in articles L29 and L30 of the Electoral Code. These provisions deprive people sentenced to certain sentences, as is the case today for Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade, from candidacy. As of Thursday, if he is convicted, Ousmane Sonko could suffer the same fate.