Senegal: Ex-president Wade not retiring from politics

By IndepthAfrica
In News
Jun 18th, 2012
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Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, right, casts his vote in presidential elections, in his home Point E neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. After weeks of riots, Senegalese voters began casting their ballots Sunday in an election that threatens the country’s image as one of the oldest and most robust democracies in Africa. This normally unflappable nation on the continent’s western coast has been rocked by back-to-back protests following the decision of its 85-year-old leader to seek a third term. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Dakar – Senegal’s ex-president Abdoulaye Wade, 86, who lost a controversial re-election bid in March, will not be retiring from politics, he said in an interview published on Monday.

“There is no political retirement for me. As long as I am on earth and able to have ideas I will express them,” Wade told the private L’As newspaper.

Since his election defeat by Macky Sall, which was preceded by deadly riots over his efforts to seek a third term in office, Wade has been criticised for seeking out media attention instead of retreating gracefully from the public eye.

However Wade remains at the head of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) which will face legislative elections on 1 July.

He has heavily criticised a probe into ill-gotten gains which has seen members of his former government questioned and dozens of his vehicles seized.

This has led to a media storm over Wade’s assets with the former leader disputing the scores of properties said to belong to him.

‘Vulgar individual’

In an interview last week he said a law on ill-gotten gains, which he said both he and his predecessor Abdou Diouf had ignored, was “dangerous”.

“You don’t summon a minister like he is a vulgar individual and ask him whatever about his management,” Wade told L’Obs newspaper.

The riots which broke out before the presidential election in March came as protesters were banned by Wade’s government from demonstrating in certain places, notably Independence Square and near the presidential palace downtown, and clashed with riot police.

About six people were reported killed in the near-daily clashes.

In last week’s interview Wade threatened Sall’s government that if he does not get his cars back “we will march on the palace, occupy Independence Square” and that preventing him from doing so is “an offence”.

However Wade says he is willing to undergo an audit into his assets and those of his family. His regime was plagued by financial scandals and both his children Karim and Sindjiely have been accused of squandering public money.

- AFP

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