Senegal goes to the polls for second time after months of protest

Byron Clark

Last February, The Spark reported on the Occupy Nigeria protests that were taking place. Nigeria is not the only African country where massive demonstrations are erupting, indeed some commentators, such as Al Jazzera are starting to talk of an ‘African Spring’ similar to the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011. As a continent subjected to colonial exploitation for a century, and neo-colonial exploitation ever since, Africa has many reasons to rebel.

 Protests have flared up in Senegal, centered on Independence Square in the capital, Dakar but large enough to extend much further, with demonstrators seizing control of a three block stretch of road during a clash with police. The target of these protests is president Abdoulaye Wade, who at 86 years old is running for his third term in office. While an election was held in February, a new election has already been called.

 Many Senegalese believe that Abdoulaye is preparing his son to take power when he dies, setting up a “neo-monarchy” similar to that accomplished by Assad in Syria and attempted by Ben Ali in Tunisia, Murabak in Egypt and Qaddafi in Libya. Of those dictators of course, only Assad remains, due to the extremely violent repression against protesters in Syria. The others were toppled by popular uprisings, providing inspiration to countries further south. [Read more…]