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From a Former Prime Minister, It’s Too Disappointing

The former Prime Minister, Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré, was recently placed in police custody, following a summons from the Urban Security. He was listened to on accusations in his open letter addressed to the President of the Republic, including the question relating to the 12 million euros that Macky Sall would have given to Marine Le Pen, during his recent visit to Senegal. This accusation has caused an outcry for several days, and rightly so. It comes from a person of authority who has occupied high stations in our State, about the first authority of this country, on practices that could be assimilated to the illicit financing of political activities of a foreign political official. This means that it is big and we hope that the former Prime Minister Soumaré has proof of what he is saying, at the risk of seriously questioning the probity of our authorities, in addition to disappointing at all points. Otherwise, he would throw a lot of discredit on his image as a silent, even shy senior government official who was repelled by  politics as it is done in Senegal.

We underlined in these columns, about the defamation lawsuit between Mame Mbaye Niang and Ousmane Sonkoconcerning accusations of embezzlement of the order of 29 billion CFA francs, that we have « left a tyranny of false accusations and intellectual terrorism doubled with bad faith » to prosper in our country. A vicious game, made up of gratuitous accusations, crude insinuations and crazy incriminations, has ended up winning all the public space and the political field. Politicians, who have seen the gains generated by this game of accusations, have finished making it their business. Faced with soft denials or a very Senegalese posture of retreating to let situations deflate on their own, the Senegalese public space has become a field of profanity that ends up tarnishing the image of our country everywhere and of all the symbols we believe in. No accusation is too big, all it takes to discredit is used. Did the pathology of whistleblowing without factual basis, described as “Sonkolite” by the journalist Cheikh Yérim Seck, make a new cult member?

We will not stop repeating that in a democratic life, the fact of bringing accusations of wrongdoing in public management is a good thing, but it is also important to be able to provide evidence of what is advanced. Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré‘s questions, inspired by rumours and innuendo, he says, have something to impose on everyone that this story be clarified.

A former Prime Minister and a former chairman of the commission of a sub-regional institution, by virtue of his position of authority, should not make such baseless accusations. The Senegalese government denied in a press release, considering that these are « cowardly and baseless insinuations, which manifestly bear witness to an evil desire to discredit the person of the President of the Republic », while reserving the right to act appropriately.

The Senegalese people have every right to be outraged if the first authority of our country supported up to “12 million euros”, a woman with the most hostile political discourse towards our diaspora. We would have every right to call our authorities to account if they, who must be at the forefront of cleaning up our national political life from unorthodox practices, allowed themselves to finance in such an illegal and irresponsible way a politician from a foreign country. What could be blamed on a platform like Kopar Express, which has become a tool for opaque financing in our public life if our public authorities illegally finance foreign politicians? The practices may be different, but the ends are the same: to provide politicians with undue financial leverage.

It is also funny that in Senegalese politics, our media and our public opinion dwell very little on the voluntary communication moves of our actors. Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré has been absent from the public-media space since his inability to run for the 2019 presidential election for lack of sponsorship, before joining the coalition of Idrissa Seck.What better way to come back with a bang in the public space than to join the blame game?

If the intention to offend consciences and to be on all tongues was the premeditated wish of the former commissioner of Uemoa, he will have succeeded in his communication coup. He is on the front page of all the newspapers, his supporters will be free to dress him in the costume of a victim of a « repressive » and « liberticidal » state machine. The league of « warriors of the just« , namely our Civil Society, will find in him a new goodwill to haggle over tension. Cheikh HadjibouSoumaré benefits from a perfect stage to announce a candidacy for the next Presidential, like his show in 2018 at the Grand Théâtre de Dakar to declare himself a candidate. With all the mess this situation brought, it would have been wiser for the former Prime Minister to keep the marble silence that has always made his identity or to build his questions of authority, which he expects « authoritative answers » on solid evidence.

PS: I was lucky enough to meet Lawyer Ousmane Sèye a few weeks earlier, during a hearing at the Dakar Court of Appeal. I saw in a courtroom a courteous lawyer, elegant and available to his clients, but above all with the courage of his words. May this hero of stories “always ready to defend the widow and the orphan”, to quote the funeral oration of the Bâtonnier Pape Leyti Ndiaye to his deceased colleague Me Chahrazade Hilal, rest in peace.

By Serigne Saliou DIAGNE / saliou.diagne@lequotidien.sn

 

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