Articles

Senegal tense ahead of presidential vote

Al Jazeera

Senegal's election commission has called for calm ahead of Sunday's presidential runoff between veteran leader Abdoulaye Wade and his challenger Macky Sall.

The commission on Saturday urged both candidates not to declare premature victory in the runoff in which the controversial incumbent is seeking to extend his rule past his 90th birthday.

Olesegun Obasanjo, African Union observer chief and former Nigerian president, met both candidates and urged them to "preserve the democratic tradition and heritage in Senegal".

The head of the European Union observer mission, Thijs Berman, called for the "respect of democratic rules" in the West African country.

The elections commission noted several clashes between rival supporters during the election campaign, which was relatively calm compared with that ahead of the first vote on February 26, when riots left six dead.

Victory tour

The 85-year-old Wade had already held a "victory tour" in Dakar on Friday where music rang out as his convoy made its way through the streets on the last day of campaigning ahead of the cliffhanger election in the West African nation.

Wade paused greet thousands of supporters at a rally called the "March Bleue" on the eve of the final round of voting.

The president stood in a moving car and waved at the cheering crowds who followed his convoy.

Having failed to deliver a crushing first-round victory a month ago, Wade faces a challenge from his former prime minister Sall, 50, who has gathered the full weight of the opposition behind him.

Sall held a mass rally in an outlying suburb of Dakar along with 12 candidates who lost in the February 26 first round and have thrown their support behind the challenger as they vow to elect "anyone but Wade”.

While laden with suspense, the run-up to the second round has been calm compared with that of the first round, marred by a month of riots over Wade's candidacy that left six dead and over 150 injured.

The octogenarian's efforts to seek re-election by circumventing a constitutional term limit earned him stiff rebukes from abroad and raised fears for the stability of one of Africa's oldest democracies.

"The mood in Dakar is very different to what it was in the days preceding the first round vote," Al Jazeera's Azad Essa reported from the capital.

"Whereas there had been a lockdown in some parts of the city centre back then, it has been business as usual in the city leading up to tomorrow's runoff vote. The markets have been bustling, and traffic has been flowing freely in most parts of the capital."

Stones thrown

But our correspondent said there had been a few reports of clashes and stone throwing between opposition youth supporters and Wade supporters, although no reports of injuries.

Wade polled 34.8 per cent in the first round and said he failed to win outright because "the West was campaigning against me”.

Sall placed second in the first round, gaining 26.5 per cent of ballots. But the odds appear to be in Sall's favour heading into Sunday's runoff, with many of the other first round candidates, who collectively won 65 per cent of the vote, spreading out across the country to campaign for him.

Youssou Ndour, the influential music star-turned-politician who was barred from standing in the first round, has also backed Sall.

"Let nobody question our victory. Anyone who tries to steal our victory will face the full mobilisation of the population," Sall said at a rally this week.

While Sall won the backing of the opposition, Wade scored the official support of a leading member of the country's most powerful Islamic brotherhood, the Mourides, seen as key in the Muslim majority nation.

Support Acholi Times

Features

Why Lamogi Eat Bats
Monday, 23 June 2014
Food will always differ by culture and region – in some regions,... Read More...
With declining external funding, Lacor hospital looks to local community for support
Monday, 23 June 2014
St Mary’s Hospital Lacor, one of Uganda’s leading hospitals has... Read More...

Acholi Times Exclusive Interview

Nile Award medallist Labeka Auma Okwong, 80.
Monday, 14 May 2012
When it came to education, girls were viewed as would-be prostitutes... Read More...
Gilbert Olanya - Member of Parliament for Kilak County, Amuru District
Monday, 04 July 2011
Gilbert Olanya was elected Member of Parliament (Independent) in the... Read More...
Acholi Legislators Are Not Resisting Development – Hon Reagan Okumu
Monday, 03 June 2013
The chairperson for Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) and Member of... Read More...
Ronald Reagan Okumu, Member of Parliament for Aswa County - Part 2
Monday, 23 May 2011
 In the last part of our interview, Hon Reagan Okumu talks to Acholi... Read More...

Land Issues

Local Investors Must Speak Directly to Land Owners Not Local Leaders – Todwong
Monday, 13 August 2012
Todwong who was visiting Purongo Sub... Read More...
Lamogi Declares 'Land revolt' Against Government
Monday, 30 July 2012
This was declared at a meeting between... Read More...
Tension Mounting Between Communities in Amuru And Adjumani
Monday, 27 August 2012
A total of over 2,000 people from West... Read More...
Bitter Fight Erupts Between Two Clans Over Land In Pader District
Monday, 07 January 2013
Houses were burnt, millet and maize... Read More...

Witness

War Orphans Survive through Stone Quarrying In Acholi Sub Region
Monday, 12 November 2012
Children in Acholi sub region who have been orphaned by the over two... Read More...
Male Sexual Violence Survivors in North Still Suffer in Silence
Monday, 21 July 2014
Men and boys who experienced sexual violence during the brutal... Read More...
Acholi war debt Claimant’s cash worth Shs 5billion unutilized as wrangles rage on
Monday, 25 February 2013
At the ripe old age of 90, Ms Kijia Akello often treks over 15... Read More...
Path To Peace And Justice: Memorials Are Ghosts To War Survivors
Sunday, 30 June 2013
Traditionally and legally, remorse is an acknowledgement or guilt for... Read More...
War Robbed Me Of My Sight: The Story Of A Former LRA Lieutenant
Monday, 02 December 2013
“I wanted to be a teacher in order to shape people’s future. My... Read More...