- The Senegalese Go on Strike!!
January 27th will be the defining moment in Senegalese politics, of this decade. It seems like every time you turn on the TV someone, somewhere is protesting, going on strike, and/or launching complaints at the current administration. Teachers have gone on strike at least twice since the school year started in November, students are going on strike because the teachers are on strike. There has even been a country wide public transportation strike, protesting the high gas prices.
Political unrest grows with each day as we get closer to the 27th. Lately peaceful demonstrations have turned into full-fledged riots and now people are threatening to resort to violence if their complaints aren’t addressed. Everyone agrees that they want change and that Senegal needs change as a whole, but can all openly admit that they doubt that actual change will occur.
As it stands there are currently 14 possible candidates for the upcoming presidential election. Among them is the incumbent Abdoulaye Wade, the source of the controversy. Not only is he 84 years old, but also he has reached his 2 term limit. The meeting of the constitutional committee on the 27th will validate or reject his candidacy. If it is approved it is speculated that it would be nearly impossible for another candidate to win. They lack the resources, political capital, and influence. There is no single opposition party, causing the vote to be split and their being no clear majority.
As for me I’m just in awe of it all. I find myself eavesdropping on conversations and pulling out my camera at the hint of excitement. The closest I’ve come to experiencing anything remotely close to this was a failed attempt at a walk out in my sociology class after my teacher assigned a 20-page bookwork assignment. Meanwhile the students of Senegal are organizing by the thousands and standing up for their rights.
The next days and weeks to come will ultimately shape the destiny of the Senegalese people. Only time will tell what the future holds.