Senegalese Elections: 2012–March 29th
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March 28, 2012 After reading an especially interesting interview in Al Jazeera with the Director of the West African Research Center (WARC), Dr. Ousmane Sene, Elias and I had the pleasure of visiting him at his office in FANN.
Dr. Sene spoke about the heightened activity of youth in these elections and his hopes for the long-lasting effects this organizing will have on the civic engagement of the youth population in Senegal. He has a lot of faith in Senegal’s youth and is proud to have a president whose young age (relatively speaking) represents that hope in the next generation of emerging leaders. He tipped his hat to both M23 and Y’En A Marre movements. Additionally Dr. Sene commented on the unprecedented violence endorsed by politicians, and used by police, and emphasized the dire importance of peace in a successful democracy.
In the afternoon we went to follow-up with Keyti. He explained that he was not at all surprised by the result of the elections, as simple calculations prior to Sunday would have suggested Wade would be defeated. But, he was surprised by Wade’s prompt reaction to, and recognition of Macky’s victory. Keyti believes the most important mark Macky can leave on his presidency is the strengthening of institutions, and that grassroots groups like Y’En A Marre need to regroup post-election and map out how they can expand to reach goals (like building institutions) of a larger scope than that of removing Wade from power.
After Keyti’s apartment, we went back to the Y’En A Marre compound in Parcelles. There we spoke with Fadel Barro and Thiat. When asked how he felt after the results of Sunday’s second round were announced, Barro said that he immediately began to reflect on the question of what’s next. He explained figuratively that Y’En A Marre will accompany Macky to the door of the presidential palace, but will leave him there and fight him with even more force than they did Wade. In Thiat’s interview, he spoke about the atrocities of Wade’s presidency, Wade’s delusional confidence going into both round one and two of the elections, and the fact that this suggested he had no clue about the current state of the Senegalese people’s sentiments towards him. In terms of Macky, and his prior participation in Wade’s cabinet and whether this suggests that he will go down the same corrupt path, Thiat referenced the story of Moses and Pharaoh. Thiat did mention one good thing about Wade’s candidacy: it exposed all the “fakes”—politicians, journalists, and rappers.