Accueil English News Idy-Sonko: One Will Kill the Other!

Idy-Sonko: One Will Kill the Other!


Ousmane Sonko saw himself in a deadly fight against Macky Sall. Now he finds himself, in paws, with a third man, Idrissa Seck, whom he perhaps buried too quickly and who seems to have come back from the beyond! To occupy the place which he claims, as the new leader of the opposition, Idrissa Seck has a first urgency, that of disqualifying the leader of Pastef, to dismiss him.  And, he does it consistently. At each of his outings, he reserves the most caustic attacks for him. He makes fun of him, points to his immaturity, his irresponsibility and depicts him to the limits of vulgar features of « an idiot » to quote him. For now, Idrissa Seck continues to spare President Macky Sall, probably because the latter has not yet formally declared his candidature.

The urgency on the front is to work to strike Ousmane Sonko hoping to be the most credible flagbearer of the opposition. No doubt that many of them would, if necessary, swallow their little resentment to vote Idy2024 in order to seek to block the road to Macky Sall. All postures seem possible in politics in Senegal. When for example, we see Aminata Touré forget the contempt she has always shown towards Barthélémy Dias, Ousmane Sonko and Guy Marius Sagna, to the point of managing to be friends and comrades in the fight, we should not not be surprised to see her one day campaigning for « the twisted » who replaced her at the head of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese). 

Idy-Sonko: Not Just Political Animosity

I revealed, through these columns, that I had met, at his request, Ousmane Sonko in 2013. He had not yet entered politics but was trying to save the head of Tahibou Ndiaye, former Director of Domains, imprisoned for prevarications of resources. Ousmane Sonko was accompanied by Ismaïla Ba, his partner from the Mercalex and Atlas firms (no doubt one day the opportunity will be given to evoke the funny adventures of this Tahibou Ndiaye affair). It was during this discussion that Ousmane Sonko confided to me that he was thinking of entering politics and asked me for an opinion. I naturally told him to be a militant in the Rewmi Party of Idrissa Seck, who had just separated from Macky Sall a few months earlier.

Ousmane Sonko revealed that he had tried to get closer to Idrissa Seck and had already met him twice but had ended up convincing himself that he could do anything with this man whom he perceived as arrogant, too full of himself. I then advised him to launch his own political formation, on the understanding that there was, from my point of view, room to occupy and that a new political offer embodied by young people could prosper. The Pastef party will be baptised a few weeks later, in January 2014.  For the record, when I spoke about it to Amadou Bâ, then new Minister of Economy and Finance at that time, he laughed out loud, remarking that « Sonko certainly has the patter but that he will self-destroy everything he has built”.

Idrissa Seck and Ousmane Sonko will find themselves in the ranks of the opposition but their relations remained most execrable. Moreover, Malick Gakou, leader of the Grand Party had to intervene between the two men who wanted to come to blows during a meeting of the Manko Wattù Senegal, an opposition coalition created in 2017. Their adversity was exacerbated by the reunion between Idrissa Seck and Macky Sall in 2020.

Today, back in opposition, Idrissa Seck, who came second in the 2019 presidential election, is determined to regain his place at all cost, that of natural leader of the opposition that he had left to Ousmane Sonko.  The latter’s entanglement in his legal setbacks gave ideas to Idrissa Seck, who visited him, at the milkman’s hour, in disguise and on a motorcycle, in order to offer him an alliance pact. Idrissa Seck considers that Ousmane Sonko will have to kill his participation in the next presidential election of 2024 and calls on him to resolve to align himself behind him, against the promise of reparations. Ousmane Sonko could not simply accept having to warm up the place for Idrissa Seck, let alone consider any another idea than being Macky Sall’s successor, « even if it means giving up his life ».

Idy with Macky, Like Wade with Diouf

A political observer, with some repartee, said of Ousmane Sonko « that he certainly has the impetuosity of Wade but has neither his culture, his social intelligence or his sense of dialogue and democracy ». Indeed, the political scene in Senegal has always been characterized by moments of confrontation, but actors from different sides have often found opportunities for discussion and dialogue to pass courses that could have been perilous.  The democratic process has always been strengthened and civil peace consolidated. This is undoubtedly what explained the comings and goings of Abdoulaye Wade between power and the opposition. In 1991, Abdoulaye Wade, accompanied by Ousmane Ngom, Jean-Paul Dias and Aminata Tall, entered the government led by Habib Thiam. They will leave the government on the eve of the 1993 elections.

This collaboration of the main political players, facilitated in many respects by the ousting of Jean Collin, had made it possible to heal the wounds of the 1988 elections as well as the adoption of a new electoral code under the aegis of a Cell Commission headed by Judge Kéba Mbaye. Abdoulaye Wade and his clique (Idrissa Seck, Ousmane Ngom, Aminata Tall, Massokhna Kane) returned to government in 1995. This new political phase had in particular made it possible to settle the political disputes arising from the cases of the assassination of Me Babacar Sèye (1993) and the murders of 6 police officers on Boulevard Général De Gaule (1994). The Pds left the government in 1997, on the eve of the 1998 legislative elections.

The return of Abdoulaye Wade to the ranks of the opposition had dampened the rise of political leaders such as Landing Savané, Djibo Leyti Kâ or Moustapha Niasse who were beginning to occupy the space. Abdoulaye Wade had succeeded in theorizing the idea of the « useful vote » to defeat the Abdou Diouf regime in 2000. Moreover, Abdoulaye Wade, faithful to his principle of broadening the political base of his governments, had had to invite around his table at the Council of Ministers political figures who had nevertheless made life difficult for him, such as Abdourahim Agne, Aïda Mbodji, Djibo Ka among others. Macky Sall has, from this point of view, who to hold.

Idrissa Seck has collaborated twice with President M acky Sall in 2012 and in 2020. He has just left him, on his own initiative, but everything suggests that if he loses the presidential election of 2024, Idrissa Seck will have no scruple to reconnect with a victorious Macky Sall. What would Senegal gain in such political operations? Can we consider the scenario of a victory for Rewmi’s candidate in 2024 as if lightning happened to strike twice in the same place?

The fact remains that no one can predict the continuation of Ousmane Sonko’s political career if he managed to escape the multiple legal proceedings opened against him, but it is clear that Idrissa Seck would fatally strike him by stealing the limelight from him. Certainly, the country would be spared calls for insurrection, violence and the use of subversive groups such as “Special Force” or “Special Commando”.

Moreover, could we exclude the possibility of the emergence of a new leadership that would manage to serve as a receptacle for the various impulses of the opposition? What would be the ability to bounce back from Khalifa Ababacar Sall or Karim Wade? Idrissa Seck disqualifies them or automatically delegitimizes them, lowering them to the infamous fate of « thieves of public funds ». 

The participation of Khalifa Ababacar Sall and Karim Wade in the next electoral contests remains dependent on the results of a new national dialogue to which President Macky Sall has just called, once again, with a view to rediscussing the questions of the eligibility of certain potential candidates or even the tenuous filter represented by citizen sponsorship for candidates for the presidential election. The hasty refusal to accept this proposal for dialogue by important fringes of the opposition shows that beyond the unity of the facade, the different actors seek to mutually neutralize each other. 

President Macky Sall revealed, during his interview with El Hadji Assane Guèye of the Rfm broadcast on Saturday April 22, 2023, that Khalifa Sall is impatient to benefit from an amnesty. Only, Ousmane Sonko does not care about the situation of his ally and refused the outstretched hand for a dialogue. Didn’t we say, in a column dated December 14, 2020 that: « Alliance with Sonko, Khalifa losing every time »?

By Madiambal DIAGNE /

  • Translation by Ndey T. SOSSEH


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