Octogenarian Senegalese president, Professor Abdulaye Wade, says that he wants to stand in the coming elections for the third time in order to complete his “projects.” Whose projects? His projects? Taxpayers' projects? Is Senegal Wade and family’s personal estate? At his age, what can he do differently?
Such a cabal of rulers has become another blow to our continent. The far-fetched to-cling-unto- power- to- finish- unknown- and- dubious –projects reason is another moniker of democracy that many dictators use to get away with. Do these self-seekers spend their personal fortunes on the so-called projects or use the said projects to swindle people’s money? Developing infrastructure? Who told Wade that others cannot develop infrastructure? Some leaders want to remain in power to see to it that their revolutions are not tarnished, as in Uganda. For how long will Africa remain a captive of hungry individuals in power?
Wade was allegedly grooming his son Karim to inherit presidency as happened in Libya and Egypt before a revolution shattered such dreams. Finding himself caught between a rock and hard place, Wade has decided to succeed himself. He has manipulated the judiciary and gotten away with it, exposing the weakness of his judiciary made of presidential appointees instead of vetted judges as it is in Kenya and South Africa.
Many Senegalese do not subscribe to his machinations given that when Wade came to power, he promised democratic and transparent changes that he did not do. He still maintains that he needs time to change the system. Again, Jonathan Jansen in his book Knowledge in the Blood said, “The master’s tool can never demolish the master’s house.” Will he succeed under all this pressure? Will he end up like Bakili Muluzi (Malawi) and the late Fredrick Chiluba (Zambia) that were stopped by the people or triumph just like Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Biya (Cameroun)who got away with it after manipulating their constitutions and electoral bodies?
After being democratically propelled to power in 2007, Wade promised Senegalese that he would not appoint anybody minister who did not win elections. His son Karim lost mayoral elections. This forced Wade to lick his vomit to appoint his son a powerful minister juggling from one ministry to another.
Ironically, Wade, a professor of Law, does not honor the law he taught for many years. It becomes even murky to note that Wade came to power under the banner of democracy as it was in the case of Muluzi, Chiluba and many others who ended up becoming even more despotic than those they unseated. If anything, this has become another obstacle for Africa’s democratic transition. A few academics enter politics to end up creating more shame than even the less educated they unseated. We will discuss this next time in the need of signing a new social contract in Africa. Is Senegal Wade's private estate?
By Nkwazi Mhango
The author is a Canada-based Tanzanian and author of Saa Ya Ukombozi.