EYEAFRICA TV: Dakar, SENEGAL:- Senegal’s President Macky Sall said on Monday that he will use all his powers to consolidate the return to calm and serenity as demonstrations are been held across the country.
“As far as I am concerned, I will use all the powers conferred on me by my office to consolidate the return to calm and serenity, in the best interests of the Nation, the security of persons and property, the defense of the Republic and the preservation of our democratic institutions,” he said.
President Sall was speaking to the nation for the first time following days of demonstrations over the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.
According to him, he understands the anger that has been expressed in recent days is also linked to the impact of an economic crisis made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No one can deny that the entire world, including our country, is going through a deep economic crisis, causing millions of jobs and income-generating activities to be lost,” he said.
“I have seen many of you take to the streets to express your anger at your unhappiness; because you don’t have a job; because you aspire for a better future; because for a year of combating the COVID-19 pandemic, your daily life has been marked by economic gloom, social restrictions and the limitation of leisure and relaxation areas.”
Sall argued that there is no cause that can justify the regrettable acts. “We have seen public buildings and state symbols attacked; shops and other private goods, looted and reduced to ashes. It’s years of investment and hard work that have been wiped out.”
The Senegalese leader extend his condolences to the families of the deceased while wishing those injured speedy recovery.
“We are one family, united by a history that assigns us a common destiny. Each life lost is a mourning for the Nation. This is why the state will come to the aid of bereaved families and facilitate access to care for the injured,” he promised.
Protest erupted across Senegal following the arrest of an opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on Wednesday.
Senegal’s government condemned the protests as a “flagrant violation” of the state of emergency put in place to tackle coronavirus.
Sonko who faces a rape allegation, appeared in court on Friday accused of disrupting public order. He denies the allegations and his supporters say the accusations are politically motivated.
Many are especially dubious about the accusation against Sonko because two other top rivals of Sall were previously targeted by criminal charges that prevented them from running for president in 2019.
UN and ECOWAS have called on all parties to exercise restraint and remain calm.