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Postponed Senegal presidential poll: Retrace your step, Spaces for Change tells Pres. Macky Sall

...urges ECOWAS’ intervention to defend democratic values in the country.

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“S4C also appealed to the conscience of President Macky Sall to retract his steps and tow the democratic lane, insisting that the elections should be allowed to hold as planned and a level playing field should be created’’

Following the postponement of the presidential election in Senegal scheduled for February 25, 2024, the Spaces for Change (S4C) has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to rise to the occasion and defend democratic values in Africa’s most stable democracy since 1960.

S4C also appealed to the conscience of President Macky Sall to retract his steps and tow the democratic lane, insisting that the elections should be allowed to take place as planned and a level playing field should be created.

“We also call on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to rise to its regional duties and aid in the defence of democratic values in Senegal, as contained in its Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Security.

“The ECOWAS must not wait for a total breakdown of democracy and coups before it reacts; it must do what is required to ensure that democracy does not suffer any other loss in Senegal.

“We therefore call on President Macky Sall to retract his steps and tow the democratic lane. The elections should be allowed to be held according to the already-published timeline or on a specific date, and the process should be made open to all candidates.

“We also urge the President to ensure that the people of Senegal are afforded the protection of their right to vote in the poll without fear, intimidation, and oppression,’’ Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Executive Director, Spaces for Change, said on Tuesday in a statement emailed to PerSecondNews.

The statement is titled “Democracy Must Not Suffer Another Loss in Senegal: A Call for Transparency Of Government Action’’.

S4C recalled that on February 4, 2024, the Senegalese President, without any prior notice of such an announcement and no new date in sight, announced the postponement of the presidential election scheduled to be held on February 25 (barely three weeks away).

It said: “For a country that has witnessed a peaceful transition of power since its independence in 1960, the recent events leading up to the postponement of the presidential elections have cast ‘dark clouds’ over the future of democracy in the country.

“The issue in Senegal continues to paint a grim picture of the democratic realities in West Africa, alongside the recent coups. The exclusion of candidates from the polls, the violent crackdown on protesters, internet restrictions, and finally this abrupt postponement add salt to the open wounds already being experienced by citizens and civic actors.

“The blatant disregard for, among others, electoral rights of freedom to vote and be voted for violates regional and international laws as contained in Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Security, and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“Spaces for Change|S4C had issued warning signals through its Civil Outlook Video of more turbulent times for the democratic atmosphere in the country.

”Sadly, but not surprisingly, we are seeing a precise chain of events being unveiled as predicted in our projections.’’

 

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