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Lessons to learn from Senegal’s presidential election —YIAGA Africa

Samson Itodo, Executive Director YIAGA Africa, a civil society group, has said that there are valuable lessons to learn from the recent Senegalese election. 44-year-old…

Samson Itodo, Executive Director YIAGA Africa, a civil society group, has said that there are valuable lessons to learn from the recent Senegalese election.

44-year-old Senegalese politician, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, is on course to emerging the youngest elected leader on the African continent.

Outgoing President Macky Sall had attempted to extend his tenure, but Senegalese stood against the move.

Itodo highlighted the role of strong institutions in protecting democracy and emphasized the need for leaders to respect term limits and the will of the people.

Speaking on Channels TV on Tuesday, Itodo urged African nations to implement the lessons learnt.

He said, “There are a lot of lessons to learn. As we think about the outcome of this election, it is important to go back to pre-election environment.

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“That country had never experienced any form of military coup, however the neighbouring francophone countries were under military rule as a result of unconstitutional changes of government. So the current government attempted to extend his tenure but the people spoke out.

“Let’s look at the strengths of the instructions that protected democracy and constitutionalism in Senegal. One is the the constitutional ouncil. Despite Macky Sall’s insistence on extending his tenure and changing the date of elections, the constitutional council stood up against the president and said no we must respect the constitution and the constitution provided that by April you ought to leave office.

“So we are learning the lesson about judicial integrity and judicial independence that it took the constitutional council to call and put the president in check. So for judiciary institutions across Africa, it is great lesson to learn.

“The second lesson to learn is strong leadership lesson for the leaders in the continent that you can not take the people for granted when invested their trust in you. Leaders need to learn that when your time has come to an end, please leave because you are not the only leader who can solve the problems.

“The third lesson is about people’s power. One of the things we celebrated about Senegal is the resilience of people. They said enough is enough, some of them lost lives but today we jubilate because the people of Senegal have demonstrated that they are sovereign. So we need to learn that we can not give up even when things have gone soar.

“The people of Senegal have taught us as people that we have power in a democracy, we just need to use that power and use it consistently.”

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