Senegal: Populism and the Rule of Law

Dakar – after 104 “intellectuals” signed a petition A leading Senegalese executive launched a “one million signature” petition campaign in response, calling on President Macky Sall to “come to his senses”, as there are “millions of reasons for him to continue” with Macky Sall.

In a democracy, everyone has the right to an opinion. However, making accusations without distinction or relativism – as the president’s supporters did as well as 104 intellectuals – amounts to intellectual federalism – militant support for a position. It does not advance the debate and confirms the need for prudence and distance recommended by Max Weber for scholars venturing into politics.

In his classic The Politician and the Scientist, Max Weber wisely tells us that “by taking a political position, one ceases to be a scholar”. That is why a well-known sociologist says: “As soon as the society of scientists begins to discuss peace and war, they become non-scientific political associations.”

The lack of scientific rigor is evident when 104 focus only on the results, forgetting that the court case against opposition leader Osman Sanko was the reason for his decision to escape justice as a bulwark against mob and street arrests Was. ,

Dozens arrested in latest protests

The petition by 104 intellectuals condemning the “decline of the rule of law” and “violations of human rights” is a political stand. A partisan position was taken. If these intellectuals were to some extent concerned with “axiomatic neutrality”, they certainly could condemn what they think is the collapse of the rule of law. But he may not have willfully overlooked the excesses of Sonko, who publicly issued death threats to the republic’s democratically elected president, insulted generals and threatened magistrates, and said that “about institutions Don’t give a damn” and the law whose respect guarantees the existence of democratic institutions according to Cicero.

Justice, the only state service that bears the name of a virtue, is a sacred institution. Contrary to what activist Aliyoune Taine says, the state does not “run away” because a minister filed a complaint against the Leader of the Opposition. it’s opposite. Prosecution of political conflicts is the touchstone of the rule of law. Other than this, court decision The proof of the independence of this justice is that the opposition and its supporters allege wrongdoings in the society. Justice has clearly shown throughout the proceedings that the timetable of justice is not that of politics.

Sonko fined 200 million CFA, gets 2 months suspended prison term

The Leader of the Opposition in India, the world’s largest democracy, has just been sentenced for defaming the Prime Minister. In the United States, now a rival Donald Trump will also answer to justice. Why would Senegal be an exception where the leader of the opposition is above the law? In a state governed by the rule of law, one is subject to the rule of law as opposed to one.

If 104 make a Martin Heidegger-like mistake by supporting a small group that uses the laws of democracy to fight within to destroy it, the Senegalese state will not make a mistake like the Weimar Republic, which through legalism and weakness, allowed the Nazis to exploit the weaknesses of democracy and destroy it.

Senghor country is not going to fall into the hands of a small group which advocates violence and hence is against our democratic culture and tradition based on dialogue. Our democracy has gone from debates by eminent scholars – Leopold Senghor, Abdoulaye Wade and Cheikh Anta Diop – to internet abusers. The legal battle we experience is more worthy of our democratic standard and rank than the political tug of war in the streets, an unattractive memory of bygone eras. This is a page that should have been closed by the cycle of reforms that began in 2000.

Both Sonko and the mayor of Dakar have acknowledged in earlier videos that the prospect of Macky Sall’s candidacy for the presidency is more a political problem than a question of law. He accepted that the constitution legally allows it. Then he changed his mind. They have the right to do so. In a democracy one can change one’s opinion. My professor at Sci Po, Gerard Grunberg, said: “There are only relative solutions, never definite solutions”, in contrast to religion which “offers simple and definite answers to complex questions”.

“Indifference is the enemy of democracy,” said Tocqueville. The interpretation struggle of our constitution between constitutionalists, politicians and even ordinary Senegalese is a testimony to our democratic vitality as democratic hubbub is one of the biggest differences between a democracy and a dictatorship. Each Senegalese has the right to interpret the constitution. But only the Constitutional Council has the right to decide the debate. Not the President or the Leader of the Opposition or a law professor. Policies and politics are not above the law and should not be below it.

Therefore, the tourism minister has the right to file a defamation complaint against the leader of the opposition, who accused him of embezzlement. This question shall be decided by a judge. Similarly, the legitimacy of a candidacy for a third term – if it arises – can only be decided by the Constitutional Council or the ballot box (by the people).

Mackie Saul Mum on running for a third term

“Power should remain with the people” became the slogan of the opposition. At least on this point there is agreement. The masses decide only in elections, and each of them can claim to be his own spokesman. Blocking Macky Sall from running for the presidency is a political objective of the opposition and a certain section of civil society. Threatening to burn the country is a tool of terror.

While waiting for the Constitutional Council to decide on legislation, the battleground has become what Sonko called “the international community” in his letter. But this battle is already lost as the evidence shows moving towards third settlement With the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is very demanding regarding governance. It is important to note the large presence of the French media in Dakar, which is no longer welcomed in many countries of the sub-region. For the 2024 presidential election, national sentiment will take precedence over international opinion as happened in 2000 when Senegal elected Abdoulaye Wade, who was not the choice of the international community.