The Movement for the Defense of Democracy has decided to suspend its call for peaceful demonstration following an exchange with the envoy of the Caliph General of the Murid Brotherhood.
In a press release, M2D states that it has “accepted the request for postponement” formulated by the influential religious leader Serigne Mountakha Mbacké. “In return”, M2D states that he has sent the caliph a memorandum with 10 demands, in particular “immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned political prisoners”, “the end of the persecution of opponents, including through telephone tapping and espionage”.
As for the opponent Ousmane Sonko, whose arrest was the trigger for these angry outbursts, M2D calls for an immediate end to the “political-legal conspiracy against” him and to commit “to no longer issue the slightest charge against it”.
M2D also asks the head of state to publicly commit to organizing local elections in 2021, legislative elections in 2022 and presidential elections in 2024 under “free and democratic conditions”. He also asks him to “publicly acknowledge the constitutional and moral impossibility” of running for a third term.
However, if the movement announces sine die-suspension of the marches, it does not specify the affected cities. According to RFI information, the march would be maintained in Saint-Louis. Information still to be confirmed.
This memorandum comes as this friday was a day of mourning in Senegal at the urging of the M2D collective in memory of the victims of last week’s clashes.
Officially, we are temporarily suspending these peaceful protests. We have expressed our willingness to bring our message to the Caliph.
Aliou Sané, coordinator of the Y’en a Marre movement
The factors of mobilization
If M2D suspends the demonstrations, the showdown is not over for all that. This crisis reveals the tensions that exist in Senegalese society. Three main factors stand out to explain this mobilization, one of the most important in recent decades in Senegal.
The Sonko saga crystallizes the latent anger, despair of a youth who has felt abandoned for many years by his leaders and whose daily life is more difficult every day, especially since the coronavirus crisis. Inequalities, unemployment, the lack of prospects in a country where 70% of the population is under 35, exacerbate tensions.
Then this crisis reveals a certain kind of distrust of justice. For good or bad reasons, many saw this case as further evidence of the instrumentalization of justice following the sentencing of Karim Wade, son of the former president, and Khalifa Sall, the former mayor of Dakar.
The power has explained beautifully that this is a private complaint in a moral matter, that justice is independent, the message has struggled to get through, which has pushed a large number of protesters into the streets, convinced that the ultimate goal is to remove the opponent from the presidential race in 2024
Another important mobilization factor; the question of the 3rd period. During his traditional interview on December 31, President Macky Sall reiterated his position: neither yes nor no. “He is finishing his second term. He should have just said no, ”explains one student.