In Senegal, the postponement of the presidential election, initially scheduled for February 25, does not pass for around forty organizations grouped within the Aar Sunu Election collective, which includes civil society movements, religious organizations and unions . The platform announced a series of actions on Thursday, including walkouts in schools this Friday and a demonstration next Tuesday. But almost a week after President Macky Sall’s announcement, what room for maneuver do opponents of the postponement have? Moundiaye Cissé is executive director of the NGO 3D and one of the representatives of the Aar Sunu Election collective. He is the guest of Charlotte Idrac in Dakar
RFI: What is the strategy today of the Aar Sunu Election platform, which means “let’s protect our electoral system”?
Moundiaye Cissé: This Friday, what we are going to do is mobilize all the imams so that in their sermons, they raise awareness of the Head of State for respecting the electoral calendar, and also the Church, which is mobilized, The Church has already given its position on the issue. And so, it is an opportunity for us to dress in white in mosques, in churches, to say no to this forcing electoral, no to this constitutional coup d’état which has just been perpetrated.
There is also a call for a demonstration this Tuesday, February 13. Are you really counting on a strong mobilization – knowing that we have recently seen demonstrations repressed by defense and security forces? Do you think you can mobilize on the ground, in the streets?
Yes, because we sent, to the Ministry of the Interior, a request for authorization to hold a peaceful demonstration. The right to march, the right to demonstrate, is a right enshrined in our Constitution. We’re not going to set tires on fire, break up vehicles, or anything else, so it’s a peaceful march. No one can and has the right to prevent us from organizing a peaceful march.
Don’t you fear a weariness among the populations, a form of discouragement?
No, at all, because what the populations suffered was a hard blow. It’s like hitting a child and trying to stop him from crying. Today, it is a national shock. There are even several supporters of the president who are against the postponement. It’s a generalized feeling, but while doing it in peace and serenity. The unions will play their part, the religious will play their part, civil society will play its part.
You mention the unions, we hear a call for walkouts in schools this Friday. Is there a general strike slogan being considered?agedknowing that for the informal sector, for traders, etc., it would be very difficult, there would be a significant shortfall, would it be a form of sacrifice?
Everyone can participate in this mobilization in their own way, without it being detrimental to the exercise of their activities. The unions, it is because they can mobilize teachers to carry out walkouts, or others, the traders can dress in white, displaying the national colors, to say no to this postponement. But President Macky Sall must know that this is an unpopular decision, it is a decision contrary to the principles of our Constitution and it will not pass. If we let this postponement pass, it would be a serious jurisprudence, a breach, because any president after Macky Sall could, after five years, pretext a crisis to postpone the elections as long as he does not feel in the majority.
There are no representatives of political parties within the platform, how do you plan to get involved? In particular, we heard from some candidates who were also against this postponement, how are you going to work together?
For the moment, it is a citizen action to avoid being told that we are being manipulated by politicians, because the way politicians fight is different from the way we fight. Afterwards, we will evaluate. If it requires that there be a connection with political actors, we will do it.
Are you impatiently awaiting a decision from the Constitutional Court? Do you have any hope, knowing that there are appeals against the decree, against the law as well?
Not only the Constitutional Council, there is also the Supreme Court. We have invited the judiciary, according to the principle of the separation of powers, to take its responsibilities.
In the press release from the Council of Ministers, Wednesday evening, President Macky Sall does not seem to be reversing his decision at all. What do you think of this press release, particularly the renewed confidence in Prime Minister Amadou Ba?
That’s political, for us, it only concerns him. The communiqué from the Council of Ministers was to say everything, except invite people to a dialogue, which the Prime Minister could even chair. No, he had to have a dialogue before making this decision. He had to consult, not just the presidents of the institutions. He himself appointed the presidents of the institutions.
Don’t you fear that this situation will get stuck?
No, we hope, especially with the reactions of the international community – there is the American reaction, but also the latest reaction from ECOWAS. And beyond the international community, the Senegalese are not going to let this crime go by.