senegal's opposition figure ousmane sonko was nominated for the 2024 presidential election despite legal challenges and protests

Senegal’s opposition figure Ousmane Sonko was nominated for the 2024 presidential election despite legal challenges and protests

Ousmane Sonko, a prominent opposition figure in Senegal, has been nominated as a candidate for the presidential election in 2024, according to an announcement made by his party on Friday. This comes despite Mr. Sonko’s questionable eligibility and shortly after the cancellation of a demonstration that was supposed to take place in Dakar on Saturday to formally launch his candidacy.

In a case involving vice, Mr. Sonko was found guilty on June 1 and sentenced to two years in prison. His attorneys and other legal experts believe that this decision disqualifies him from running for office. On May 8, he was also handed a six-month suspended prison sentence in an appeal for defamation. This penalty, which was imposed in response to his claim that he was not able to run for president, is generally regarded as rendering him ineligible for the election. However, he has not yet used up all of his opportunities to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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According to the information provided by his party, Mr. Sonko is scheduled to deliver a speech on Friday. Since the 28th of May, he claims that security personnel have prevented him from leaving his home in Dakar and have “sequestered” him there. “This Thursday, July 13, 2023, at the end of a transparent and democratic investiture process, Ousmane Sonko, enjoying his full civil and political rights, is unanimously designated candidate of PASTEF-Les Patriotes (his party) for the presidential election of February 25, 2024,” his party said in a statement that was sent to AFP on Friday.

According to the statement, the investiture of Mr. Sonko took place on Thursday during a meeting of the party’s High Regulatory Authority (HARP), which is a Pastef body. The conference’s purpose was to validate the decisions reached by delegates from Senegal’s 46 departments and the diaspora. In this article, Pastef condemns what it calls an “illegal ban” on a gathering of its candidates that is set to take place on Saturday afternoon in a stadium in Guédiawaye, which is located outside of Dakar. The government of Dakar confirmed the rally’s prohibition in a press release that was distributed on Thursday, citing the “risk of disturbing public order” as the primary reason for the decision.

According to the Pastef communiqué, “No one can prevent President Ousmane Sonko’s investiture as well as his participation in the presidential election of February 25, 2024.” In an interview that aired on the France 24 channel on July 6, Sonko made a threat that he would cause “indescribable chaos” if he were to be blocked from running for president.

At the beginning of June, his conviction prompted the most significant unrest that Senegal had seen in years. According to the police, 16 people died as a result of the turmoil, while the opposition estimates that approximately thirty people lost their lives. At the beginning of July, President Macky Sall, who was first elected in 2012 and then re-elected in 2019, made the announcement that he would not be a candidate for the presidential election in 2024.