Postponement of Senegal election: ITUC-Africa recommends actions to remedy political crisis


*wants Senegal to preserve record of participatory democracy

By Michael Oche

The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has expressed concern over the postponement of the Presidential Election in Senegal.

President Macky Sal on 3rd of February 2024, announced the abrupt postponement of the Presidential Election initially slated for 25 February 2024.

ITUC-Africa in a statement signed by General Secretary, Comrade Akhator Joel Odigie from its regional office in Lome, said the postponement of the election has thrown up an avoidable political crisis.

The Regional Organisation which said it has been monitoring the situation in Senegal, therefore proffered some recommendations to the Senegalese government to remedy the situation.

“Our concern stems from the fact that the peace and political stability of Senegal is avoidably under threat. This threat is against a worrisome political instability strain in the West African sub-region and the continent. We are mindful of the need to preserve Senegal’s excellent record of a fledging, peaceful, inclusive and participatory democracy that has inspired other democracies in the sub-region and continent,” Odigie said in his statement issued late Monday, February 5.

According to the general secretary, “currently, there is a general feeling in the country that this postponement reeks of excessive political manoeuvring, and it is causing a spike in the loss of trust in the political process and fueling discontentment, anger and protests.”

Odigie said ITUC-Africa is backing pragmatic proposals made by its affiliates in Senegal to remedy the crisis of the postponed elections.

The recommendations include, a call for an urgent convocation of a national dialogue to discuss and resolve contending national political issues; the establishment of a high commission composed of independent and politically non-aligned personalities charged with the task of conducting an inclusive national dialogue and a peaceful, transparent and inclusive presidential election.

It also suggested a call for amnesty for all politically detained persons to be unconditionally released so that they can freely participate in the national dialogue and be able to pursue their legitimate political ambition.

It said the government should make conscious and genuine efforts to ensure that all critical stakeholders, including workers and trade union organisations, are consulted in the national dialogue process.

Furthermore, it called on the government to halt and desist from all restive measures against the free and efficient participation of the media and the citizenry in covering and participating in the political process.

“We urge the Senegalese government to embrace these suggestions and take swift action to implement them. We are confident that this would rally the people and restore confidence. Whilst we call on all to remain vigilant, we appeal for calm and restraint from all political actors not to heat up the polity,” Odigie said.