Senegal is currently in the arms of the two most important arms of the state, that is, the judiciary and the executive. Presidents of republics and judges are sworn in to perform their duties without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

Courts serve republics by their capacity to ensure the dispensation of justice so that it will be done and will also be seen to have been done. This means that courts are not only instruments of justice but also promoters of stability and order.

In short when justice is seen to be done the society as a whole will accept any verdict and the integrity of courts will prevail.

The Sonko case in Senegal has reached a point where the views of those who presided over the case and the views of the Senegalese public are diametrically opposed to each other, thus causing social friction that has led to loss of life and property. This tension is unsustainable. One would have thought that the judiciary could settle the matter through a deal but there is a big debate in Senegal whether someone sentenced in absentia could appeal against that sentence. The legal minds are still grappling with such an issue.

This leaves the executive to be the immediate source of hope for the settlement of the tension through the exercise of the prerogative of mercy. Will this be exercised to control the crisis and then followed by dialogue to deal with issue of term limits of the president? The future will tell.

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