In the Council of Ministers, Wednesday, the President of the Republic asked the Keeper of the Seals to study the possibilities and the appropriate schemes of amnesty for people who have lost their voting rights. Behind this general formulation, everyone understood that he was referring to Karim Wade and Khalifa Ababacar Sall. The challenge, for Macky Sall, even if he does not say it directly, is to reshuffle the cards for the next presidential election in 2024 and put an end to the bipolarity or duality between him and the one supposed to be his most formidable political adversary of the moment, the leader of Pastef, Ousmane Sonko. The points of view of journalist Ibrahima Bakhoum and analysts and political scientists Mamadou Sy Albert and Ablaye Mbow.
For Mamadou Sy Albert, apart from politics, it is also for the President to restore the image of Justice so disturbed by many Senegalese. “The challenge is that Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall will regain their civil and political rights. It can also be specifically legal. Justice will reconsider major decisions. Democracy will prevail over legal conflict. If these two leaders are restored to their rights, justice will probably be better perceived by public opinion. Its image was tarnished and everyone denounced its use to settle political scores, ”said our interlocutor.
And wonders about the procedure that the government will initiate to restore these civil rights. Namely: will it be an amnesty law or a review of the trials of Karim and Khalifa? Or even a modification of the electoral law? “There is a strictly political problem. The Pds is for the revision of Karim’s trial. Khalifa is also for the revision of his trial. Now, will the government accept these revisions? Where will the different parties find a consensus? If there is political dialogue, they will find a consensus. But if there is no direct dialogue between the power and the opposition, it will be extremely difficult to find a consensus. Now, if all this is settled, obviously, the end result is that if Karim regains his civil rights, he will be a Pds candidate in 2024. Khalifa will also be a candidate. So the presidential election of 2024 will at least correct the shortcomings of 2019. It will be a novelty under the reign of Macky Sall. In 2019, he didn’t want Karim and Khalifa Sall in his way. If these two are candidates in 2024, the political landscape will change, ”thinks the political scientist.
“Ousmane Sonko will no longer be the only attraction” Mamadou Sy Albert
The political deal will change with the 2K amnesty. Most certainly, the opposition will move. Khalifa Sall, Karim Wade and Ousmane Sonko will be the main candidates expected from the opposition. “It will open the debate. The competition will be much more open between the components of the opposition. The arrival of Karim and Khalifa will mean that Ousmane Sonko will no longer be the only attraction. He will have to deal with these two heavyweights. The whole question is therefore whether Benno will be able to have a candidate capable of resisting these three opposition leaders. We are heading towards a confrontation which will be uncertain until the end,” added the political scientist. According to him, the challenge for the opposition is to know who will be the leader capable of bringing about a second round in 2024. “When we look at the opposition, whether it is Ousmane Sonko, Khalifa Sall or Karim Wade or maybe the other candidates, if they don’t have a force capable of bringing Macky Sall to the second round, then the current president may well win the first round. The best placed member of the opposition has a good chance of winning in the second round, but on condition that all the opposition forces vote for him. It is not yet acquired » concludes Mr. Mamadou Sy Albert.
IBRAHIMA BAKHOUM, JOURNALIST “Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade did not have their destiny in hand”
Supporters of Karim Wade had shouted urbi et orbi that their candidate does not want an amnesty. That his trial should be reviewed. Wade-son had international support and all the courts seized essentially found that his trial was not fair. The United Nations, through its authorized bodies, had instructed Senegal to retry Karim Wade. But according to the journalist – trainer and specialist in political issues Ibrahima Bakhoum, you can say “I don’t want an amnesty” but the one who decides is the executive through Parliament. “Karim Wade may think that we want to put him in the position of begging for amnesty. He can say “I don’t want amnesty. I want to be judged”. But it is very complicated to re-judge it. Today, President Macky Sall makes a decision by instructing the Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice to work for these people to regain their rights. Karim’s lawyers still say that their client covered the 5 years that should be if there was loss of civil, political rights. “We have already covered these 5 years”. Now they say yes, Karim Wade must regain all his rights, even political ones. They consider that this law that the government is about to pass does not even concern them. Next, argue that the Crei had never requested a loss of its rights elsewhere. But if it’s the electoral code that decided it, obviously, it’s over for him,” he explains.
The strategist’s game to neutralize 2K
One of the veterans of the national press, Bakhoum believes that the choice of President Sall may be motivated by political gains for someone who seeks to pacify the political space. Because, he argues, Karim does not want to be indebted for anything to Macky Sall. “On the side of Khalifa Sall, we too will say we are not applicants. But they are not going to go as far as Karim. Because the jurisdictions are not the same. There it is the Crei which does not give you any rights in terms of balance so that at least you can appeal to be retried. In the second case, you are told to come and prove that you have not made a mistake (Khalifa Sall). The judgment of the Crei did not retain any embezzlement of public funds, theft or fraud, money laundering or passive or active corruption. What the Court retained is that Karim is the owner of such thing and such other thing that his lawful income could not allow him to acquire. Khalifa Sall, he is being told what you have done is not regular from a management point of view. His problem is that yes, it’s always happened like that. In any case, the courts condemned both, ”recounted Ibrahima Bakhoum. Who specifies that when Macky decides to grant them amnesty, Karim can do nothing about it. Because it is the president who decides and the National Assembly will support him. And if the Assembly follows the will of the president, Karim will be granted amnesty whether he likes it or not.
The Ousmane Sonko equation!
Still according to Ibrahima Bakhoum, amnesty Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade can be a means of legally destabilizing the leader of Pastef, which the morality case of which he is accused could not do. On the other hand, he specifies that if the mayor of Ziguinchor does not make a mistake by 2024, it will be very difficult to weaken him. “We find the means by allowing two formidable adversaries, two personalists who were prevented from doing so in 2019 and who will be able to present themselves in 2024 if the law passes. Among all but Macky, there are those who went to cling to Ousmane Sonko simply because it was a last resort for them. Macky thus gives them alternatives to Sonko made up of Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade. Obviously, that weakens Ousmane Sonko. Macky will avoid the bipolarization between him and Sonko. He is not going to take the risk of finding himself facing a single opponent as formidable as the leader of Pastef in 2024. “It does not matter whether it is him or another candidate from Benno. The main thing for him is to ensure that Ousmane is no longer alone in the race to disperse his electorate,” concludes Ibrahima Bakhoum
ABLAYE MBOW, JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL ANALYST “Why it is good to have a plurality of presidential candidates”
Ablaye Mbow recalls that an amnesty law does not concern people. Rather, it is about facts. On the cases of Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade, the political analyst journalist specifies that they were condemned for economic facts. “Anyway, regarding Kalifa Sall and Karim Wade. I believe that many political actors, civil society actors have had to demand an amnesty law to allow them to recover their civic and political rights. Civil society even had to propose the modification of the electoral code. In particular articles L29 and L30 to allow these two leaders to be able to become voters again. And by becoming voters again, they will truly be able to be candidates in all elections,” says Ablaye Mbow. Like our two other analysts, he believes that what is at stake is the redistribution of the cards within the opposition. “These two were not in the presidential race in 2019. For 2024, at the opposition level, there will be a plurality of candidacies. For a presidential election, it is always good to have a plurality of candidates. Because we had the examples of 2000, 2012 where the plurality of candidacies had pushed the outgoing president to go to the second round,” he said.
Scattering of leaders and scattering of the electorate!
The editor-in-chief of the daily “Vrai Journal” specifies that the majority camp could emerge as the big loser from this proposed amnesty law. He may find himself caught in his own trap by wanting to grant amnesty to the 2Ks. “We must not forget that the power today is struggling with an internal rebellion led by Mimi Touré. Perhaps it will bring together the frustrated, the anti-third term if by extraordinary the President of the Republic declares a third candidacy. We know full well that at the opposition level, there could not be a single candidate. Because within Yewwi, there have already been declarations of candidacies made by Ousmane Sonko and Malick Gakou. It is also to be expected that there will be other declarations of candidatures at the level of Yewwi as in the other coalitions of the opposition. Khalifa Sall could throw himself into the fight if he is granted amnesty before 2024. Indeed, there will be a scattering of leaders and a scattering of the opposition electorate” agrees Ablaye Mbow. However, he warns, part of the electorate of power can switch to the side of the opposition as we saw during the legislative elections of July 31…
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