Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

With his vast wealth provided by tax payers and intolerable acts the man should be consigned to an old-folks home, not a position of power.

“The wise man is ashamed of his faults, but is not ashamed to correct them.”

Every perceptive Senegalese, being responsible and acting in good faith, should ask themself this question today. One must admit, confidently, that the 65% of voters who voted against President Wade in 2012 had appraised the situation correctly. Objectively, or using their intuition, they perceived what would have transpired had President Wade remained in power. They did indeed save our country from an inevitable and monstrous catastrophe.

Imagine, just for a moment, what would have happened to our dear Senegal had President Wade, author of so many unfortunate and unacceptable policies, had remained head of state. Nevertheless, those who voted for him to remain head of state cleared him of having supported injuriously atavistic policies, blaming his old age and senility for these comments. Despite this, it is evident that the decision to not condemn President Wade’s irresponsible statements for any reason can only stem from a hypocritical or intellectually blind party.

How, in the year 2015, may a supposed defender of human rights, a pan-Africanist who considers slavery to be a crime against humanity and a supposed supporter of the republican ideals of democracy, hold such opaquely scandalous positions with respect to his fellow citizens? In addition to this, he held these beliefs for 12 years during which he was the president of the republic. In truth, all the qualities that he ascribes to himself ring false. This is why we must presently admit to ourselves that we have a veritable monarch, despite the lack of a throne, leading our republic. Lacking in courage, he does not dare announce this publicly, as he does not want to be rejected in the same manner as on the 23 June, 2011.

By his mistake, he has put his son in a difficult position. Yet, instead of blaming himself for this, he continues in his erroneous ways, attempting to stir up trouble within the country in order to make it ungovernable as long as his son is not liberated. What a tragic turn of affairs! Even the rejection of these unfortunate actions by some of his closest allies has come to no end; he remains deaf to criticism and stubbornly refuses to stop.

All this despite the fact that, were he wise, he would listen to others, make amends, and ask for the forgiveness of the Senegalese people. Worse still, despite his unworthy and uncivil behaviour with regards to the nation, he still receives a colossal pension, courtesy of the Senegalese tax payer, of almost 10 millions francs per month on top of other financial advantages even though he fulfils no duties for the country, which could use the money well elsewhere.

On the contrary, since leaving office, he has done everything possible to destabilise his country in order to assist and gratify his son who is worth more to him than all other Senegalese citizens combined. This is all profoundly unacceptable!

To this effect, President Macky Sall, in unfortunately justifying President Wade’s pension, gave his predecessor the resources that he requires. These are not to be used in order to permit President Wade to live decently for the rest of his days, rather to easily spread trouble throughout the country. This is a grave mistake on President Macky Sall’s behalf, which many Senegalese hold against him and for which many will no doubt never forgive him. The facts already clearly demonstrate this reality.

President Wade’s mind-set stems from two elements. On the one hand, his unexpected fall from power and on the other the fact that his son has been imprisoned for the past two years without the hope of being released. This caused a veritable mental crisis in President Wade, which resulted in him losing his grasp on reality. Thus, he proclaims his imaginary power far and wide, boasting of what is, actually, a total lack of influence of which he feigns ignorance. Thus, President Wade can easily be characterised in the following description, “Like all the strong passions of men, ambition keeps us in a strange state of indifference toward others, which in the worst of us is like a kind of ingeniousness akin to the sinister image, in our adult corruption, of the illusions of childhood” (Bernanos, The Impostor. 1927, p.387).

As it is, if we recognise that we live in a republic, we must logically distance ourselves from these forms of sentimental reflections, stemming from familial or amicable ties. These have no place in a republic, where issues between citizens must be dealt with along republican principals, based on the equality of all before the law, each worthy of equal dignity and respect. It is now time for some Senegalese citizens to stop harassing us with statements such as, “He is the father or grandfather of so-and-so,” etc.

These individuals use President Wade’s age to justify his statements to other citizens, with whom he has no familial connection, with unacceptable assertions that are beyond the limits of common decency. In fact, everyone should know that honour and respect are earned and cannot be forced or result from threats, even on the part of a former president.

It is evident and well-established that outside of the family circle, no person may force another to consider the former his “father” or “grand-father” if the person does not wish this to be so. In other cultural contexts, bedridden or senile parents are kept at home, without the ability to address a wider audience or even placed in an old-folks home. This is the common procedure, precisely, in order to avoid President Wade’s unfortunate outcome.

In contrast to this, the unconditional supporters of President Wade are ready to justify even his most reprehensible actions, as he is their champion denigrator and professional provocateur, even when they should instead follow the laws of the republic. Those who use his advanced age as a pretext to excuse him should remember that Senegalese national law, just like the rest of society, understands that there is an appropriate time to retire, to withdraw permanently from one’s professional life due to ineptitude or physical invalidity.

Of course, discretion, or masla is advisable in resolving cases of minor disagreement or conflicts between people, in order to find an amicable solution. That being said, this masla is ill-suited to handling serious conflicts or problems, especially those attacking an individual’s dignity. In cases such as these, similar to those caused by President Wade, one must rather clearly establish who is indeed responsible for the wrongs committed.

President Wade’s case is an excellent testimony to the fact that an elderly person is not necessarily synonymous with a wise man. Indeed, if this were the case, he would have conducted himself differently in the matters at hand. But, alas, since only cold hard facts can serve as evidence in understanding the course of real events, one must admit that, despite his old age, President Wade is far from being wise. Having said this, it is clear that President Wade knowingly made a grave mistake out of malice of forethought. Consequently, all citizens who hold social peace and justice dearly must condemn his very dangerous and provocative behaviour. To this end, he should be sanctioned and the privileges and advantages from which he benefits should be stripped from him.

“The wise man puts righteousness above all. The man of high station who has courage without righteousness is a menace to the state; the common man who has courage without righteousness is nothing more than a brigand.”
- Confucius

* Mandiaye Gaye is a Senegalese political analyst.

* This article was translated from French for Pambazuka News by Isaac Middelmann.



* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.