President Macky Sall of Senegal bid farewell to the armed forces during a ceremony he presided over. He stated, “Next year, my successor will stand before you to ensure the continuity of the state,” affirming his decision not to seek a third term, a declaration he made in July.
For the past three years, uncertainty surrounded President Sall’s intentions regarding the 2024 presidential election, but recent actions and speeches are beginning to shed light on his plans, aligning with the views of some political analysts since July 3.
While the tension has subsided in Senegal, President Sall’s actions and words continue to be closely scrutinized, with his most recent address on November 7 before the Senegalese Armed Forces drawing significant attention.
According to Dr. Romaric Badoussi, a specialist in ECOWAS and democratic governance, President Macky Sall’s farewell to the Senegalese armed forces as the current head of the republic on November 7 is consistent with his previous statements. “The subsequent actions show a certain coherence on President Macky Sall’s part with his own declaration on July 3, 2023. These farewells to the armed forces are, therefore, a logical continuation,” stated the political science and international relations expert.
At the Dial-Diop camp in Dakar, where he presided over the official ceremony for the Senegalese Armed Forces Day, President Sall delivered a speech that sounded like a farewell. He said, “As the supreme commander of the armed forces, I have shared with you, for over a decade, my vision, my passion to serve our country, and the ambition to equip it with a capable defense mechanism to meet challenges.”
He continued, “Next year, my successor will be here before you to ensure the continuity of the state, the nation, and the republic. As the supreme commander of the armed forces, as per the Constitution, he will command you, and you will obey him,” reaffirming his commitment to a smooth transition of power.
Dr. Romaric Badoussi believes that at this stage, there should be no doubts or reservations about the sincerity and objectivity of the process initiated by Macky Sall. According to the analyst, after the 2024 election, a new leader will guide the destiny of the “Land of Teranga” (the land of hospitality).
“The party of Macky Sall has designated the current Prime Minister, Amadou Ba, as the candidate for the upcoming presidential election, and he is already campaigning,” Dr. Badoussi explained. President Sall’s speech before the armed forces further emphasizes his commitment to stepping down after his two terms.
For the ECOWAS specialist, it is reasonable to believe that Macky Sall will not reverse his decision. “In any case, the socio-political context in Senegal does not lend itself to a turnaround… The situation in Senegal remains somewhat tense, with issues such as the candidacy of the opposition figure Ousmane Sonko,” he noted.
“For now, passions have cooled somewhat, but they are still simmering. Ousmane Sonko still insists on being a candidate. In an already volatile atmosphere, an inadvertent move by President Macky Sall could inflame tensions, and I believe he is aware of this,” Dr. Badoussi concluded.
In a related development, Birame Souleye Diop, an opposition parliamentarian and close associate of Ousmane Sonko, was charged on July 11 for comments he made about President Macky Sall after the July 3 speech. During a press conference, Birame Souleye Diop had suggested that President Sall might reconsider his announcement.
In comments he later apologized for, Birame Souleye Diop had issued a “warning” to future candidates from Macky Sall’s party, saying, “Avoid eating at his place, avoid drinking his water; he is capable of poisoning you and saying, ‘Since we no longer have a candidate, I’m coming back.'” Birame Souleye Diop regained his freedom on July 19.