Senegal: Relief in Dakar after Macky Sall’s ‘no third term speech’

Senegalese President Macky Sall has surprised many by deciding not to seek a third term in office. The decision is being greeted as a great relief by many in Dakar, where tensions had been running high prior to Sall’s address to the nation on Monday. Our correspondent Wahany Sambo went on the streets of Dakar and spoke to some residents.

“I’m so happy that I’m at a loss for words, because all the Senegalese people were waiting for him. He’s done something that will always be engraved in our minds. It’s a pleasure and an example that Senegal is still setting” a male respondent said.

“It’s a joy because there was a lot of tension here in Senegal over this. I think this is a wise decision that will help bring peace back to the country. So I’m glad he won’t be seeking a third term”, a female respondent said.

By declaring that he will not take part in the February 2024 presidential election, President Macky Sall has put an end to a stressful period of suspense and months of speculation. According to Babacar Dione, a political analyst, this decision was nevertheless foreseeable.

“Macky Sall, as he said, could do no less than his predecessors. What was expected of him was to give much greater scope to our democracy. So he couldn’t afford to do anything less than what has happened. Senegal is right in line with what other African countries have already started to do: in Niger, that’s how it is, in Ghana and in certain English-speaking countries, there are no problems, alternation is taking place on a regular basis”, Dione explained.

Africanews correspondent Wahany Sambo reports “the headlines in this morning’s Senegalese press, following President Macky Sall’s decision not to seek a third term in office, are indicative of the relief felt by the Senegalese people”. 

Sambo quotes the Daily Ace headlines to read “Macky to the Hall of Fame of the World, we salute the greatness of the president for failing to answer the call of his supporters”. Another daily, La Tribune, highly critical of the government and owned by an opponent of Macky Sall, says “Macky Sall on the path of great men, while Walfadjri, whose signal was recently cut, says “Macky Sall Yewwina Askan Wi”, which means “Macky Sall finally liberates the Senegalese people”. 

Sambo adds that this is indeed a kind of liberation for many Senegalese who feared tension if Macky Sall ever declared his candidacy for a third term. But the thorny question of the candidacy of opposition candidate Ousmane Sonko remains.

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