Sunday, July 21, 2024

Senegal Election Postponement: Teachers Threaten General Strike

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By: Dawda Baldeh

Teachers in Senegal have threatened to embark on a general strike following the postponement of the February 25th Presidential election, sparking tension in the West African nation recently.

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Alhagie Malick Johm, Secretary-General of the Senegalese Teachers Union, announced on Thursday that teachers have unanimously agreed to embark on a general strike, accusing the government of violating electoral laws and the country’s constitution.

“President Sall’s postponement of the election is unconstitutional, and every Senegalese should stand against his decision,” he emphasized.

Senegal’s election was originally scheduled for February 25, 2024. However, just two days before the commencement of political campaigns, President Macky Sall announced the election would be postponed until December, citing a dispute between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council over the rejection of candidates and fears of unrest.

This premature halt to the election has left many Senegalese in anxiety, leading to protests across the country. Some opposition leaders, including female aspirants, have also been arrested since the announcement.

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Teachers believe that striking will put pressure on the government to proceed with the election as previously planned, allowing Senegalese citizens to exercise their constitutional rights and elect their leader.

“Starting from Friday, February 9th, 2024, at 10 am, every teacher in Senegal will stay home to show the government that we are against the postponement of the election,” they vowed.

The teachers are calling on Sall’s government to respect the election calendar to ensure a fair and peaceful election.

Since the announcement of the election postponement, tension has erupted in Senegal, and many human rights advocacy groups have condemned the decision. Some have called it “unconstitutional,” while others have referred to it as a “constitutional coup d’état.”

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, and the United States have all called on Senegal to restore its electoral calendar.

Prof Ismaila Madior Fall, former Minister of Justice and current Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad, an Associate in Constitutional Law and President of the Cames Jury for the Aggregation competition, stated, “It’s a crazy idea for which the state is not asking. Objectively and subjectively, the presidential election of February 25, 2024, cannot be postponed.”

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