John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Senegal"

President Obama in Africa: Senegal

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Senegal President Macky Sall shake hands after their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace June 27, 2013. (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Senegal President Macky Sall shake hands after their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace June 27, 2013. (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters)

Senegal has never had a military coup, and the opposition won last year’s presidential election. It is also a predominately Muslim nation. President Obama arrived in Senegal the evening of June 26. At a joint press conference with Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, President Obama praised the country’s democracy and the rule of law. The president also publicly affirmed his support for gay rights; Senegal’s president responded that his country is not yet ready to decriminalize homosexuality. Obama also highlighted food security at a meeting with private sector and regional agricultural leaders. Read more »

The United States and Drug Trafficking in Guinea-Bissau

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Cocaine is displayed to journalists after being seized by Guinea-Bissau's judicial police in the capital Bissau March 21, 2012. (Joe Penney.Courtesy Reuters) Cocaine is displayed to journalists after being seized by Guinea-Bissau's judicial police in the capital Bissau March 21, 2012. (Joe Penney.Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Kyle Benjamin Schneps; a dual master’s degree candidate at Columbia University and junior fellow at the Institute for Strategic Studies in Dakar, Senegal.

On 2 April 2013, Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto was arrested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in international waters off the coast of West Africa. He was arrested for his role in a transatlantic narco-trafficking operation in which he agreed to receive, store, and ship thousands of kilos of cocaine in exchange for millions of dollars and a cut of the product. Moreover, he agreed to this arrangement with DEA informants who were posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), a guerilla organization classified as terrorists by the U.S. government. Mr. Na Tchuto is the former chief of the Guinea-Bissau Navy and a lauded veteran of his nation’s war of independence against Portugal. Read more »

Senegal’s Elections are Good News

by John Campbell
Supporters of Senegalese opposition presidential candidate Macky Sall celebrate in the capital Dakar March 25, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters of Senegalese opposition presidential candidate Macky Sall celebrate in the capital Dakar March 25, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

A week following the dark news of a military coup in Mali, Senegal’s presidential runoff is profoundly encouraging for African democrats. Incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade has conceded to, and congratulated, opposition candidate Macky Sall following the March 25 presidential runoff. The press reports that the elections were calm. Though election observers have yet to comment, based on press reports their findings are likely to be favorable. Read more »

Will Wade Be Humiliated in the Senegal Presidential Run-off?

by John Campbell
Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, February 27, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, February 27, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Senegal’s constitution requires that a presidential candidate receive fifty percent of the total votes or face a run-off. Incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade received only thirty-five percent of the vote in the February 26 presidential election, while his chief opposition, Macky Sall, received twenty-six percent. (There were numerous other candidates.) Only about half of the electorate voted, compared with more than seventy percent in the 2007 elections. There will be a run-off between Wade and Sall on March 18. Unlike the case of Cote d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbagbo, Wade’s people have said that he will accept the results of the run-off. He probably will; Senegal is not as internally divided as Cote d’Ivoire, where rival presidential candidates represented profound ethnic, social and economic divisions. Senegal’s democratic institutions, while by no means perfect, are also among the strongest in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more »

Senegal Elections: A First Take

by John Campbell
A bottle of ink used to mark voters' fingers is seen on a table during presidential elections in the capital Dakar February 26, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A bottle of ink used to mark voters' fingers is seen on a table during presidential elections in the capital Dakar February 26, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Preliminary reports from Senegal are that Sunday’s polling and subsequent ballot counting has gone well, though Western media concentrates on Dakar and other large cities. Nevertheless, an important, domestic NGO, RESOCIT, deployed more than two thousand local observers and concluded that there was an “astonishingly” low number of incidents of violence and fraud. Read more »

Senegal’s Wade Struggles to Hold Power

by John Campbell
Senegal's incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade attends an election campaign rally in the capital Dakar February 22, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Senegal's incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade attends an election campaign rally in the capital Dakar February 22, 2012. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Normally placid, elegant Dakar is roiled by pre-election demonstrations. The issue is President Abdoulaye Wade’s apparently desperate attempt to hang on to presidential power via a third term bid this weekend. Wade claims his re-election would be legal under the frequently revised (by Wade) constitution. The Constitutional Council has ruled that his first term does not count because the two-term limit law was introduced after his first term began. His opponents have objected to the decision. Former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo, as head of an African Union observer mission, has gone to Dakar, apparently to try to persuade Wade to step down. Thus far, Wade has refused. So, the stage appears to be set for a contested election this weekend – Wade (like Gbagbo in Ivory Coast) almost certainly has more popular support than outsiders estimate. If he does win, extensive court challenges seem inevitable. Read more »