By Amadou Manjang
The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations [TANGO] has call on the Government of The Gambia to take a leading role in ensuring the current situation in Senegal is resolved.
We call on President Adama Barrow to hold discussions with President Macky Sall to obtain his assurances and commitment for a free, fair and peaceful Presidential election on February 25,’ TANGO stated in a press release.
TANGO stated that the Gambian Civil Society, Gambia Government and Gambian people have a historic duty to stand with the people of Senegal to ensure peace and democracy prevails.
According to TANGO, during the 22 years of dictatorship in the Gambia, the Senegalese people and Government stood with The Gambia in the fight against tyranny and helped to restore democracy, stressing that Gambians must do the same for its counterparts.
‘The destiny of the Gambia and Senegal are intertwined and cannot be separated hence the people of these two sister Republics cannot and must not ignore the prevailing conditions in either society, whether good or bad,’ Mrs. Yadicon Njie Eribo Chairperson of TANGO stated.
Meanwhile, TANGO calls on Senegalese President Macky Sall and Senegalese National Assembly to withdraw from any acts or omissions that will undermine democracy and threaten the peace and stability of Senegal.
‘We call on President Macky Sall in particular to immediately rescind his announcement to postpone the election but to rather provide all the necessary resources, space and security to ensure that Senegalese go to the polls on 25 February 2024 to elect their new leaders,’ Njie Eribo stated.
TANGO also called on the ECOWAS Heads of States and the Commission to ensure constitutionalism in Senegal is not undermined.
‘As a region grappling with several military juntas amidst the broader context of longstanding armed conflicts, every effort must be exerted to ensure that Senegal does not become the latest basket case of a state to face unconstitutional change of government or a civil strife,’ TANGO advises.
The body of Gambian Civil Society further stated that Senegal must not be allowed to fall after decades of democratic disensation.
On February 3, 2024, President Macky Sall suspended the forthcoming Presidential Elections indefinitely causing widespread protest against his decision.
The forthcoming Presidential Elections was scheduled for February 25 before it has been postponed.
According to Sall, his decision is underpinned by a dispute between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council on allegations of corruption of judges relating to the disqualification of Presidential candidate Karim Wade.
According reports, President Sall’s intervention is to ensure national institutions continue to function as he awaits parliamentary inquiry to resolve the matter.
‘Macky Sall’s decision does not only violates the Constitution of Senegal, but also threatens the peace and stability of both Senegal and The Gambia, and undermines the democratic gains Senegal has registered over the years,’ TANGO stated.
TANGO further stated that democratic principles, the rule of law and the verdict of the Constitutional Council should have been respected by all parties and those affected by the decisions should have sought legal redress.
‘Hence, we do not hold the view that the disqualification of a Presidential candidate or allegations of corruption against Judges warrants the postponement of a Presidential election,’ it added.
There have been violent clashes in last 48 hours in the cities and towns of Senegal between the protesting people and security forces.
‘The Gambia Civil Society is indeed deeply concerned by the recent events in Senegal orchestrated by the Government of President Sall. These events relate to the incidence of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture of political opponents, Civil Society actors, Journalists, and ordinary citizens for merely expressing dissent.
We have noted with great concern the hundreds of Senegalese under detention without trial including Presidential candidates while groups, parties and media houses are either banned or closed for merely exercising their democratic rights,’ TANGO added.
President Macky Sall has served full two terms and has promised not to rerun for election. Sall succeeded former President Abdoulaye Wade in 2012.