On Friday, hundreds of Senegalese gathered in Dakar to call for legal action following the publication of a report by the Court of Auditors that detailed various anomalies in the administration of monies designated for anti-Covid efforts. Under the leadership of a dozen different civil society organizations, a large audience assembled in Dakar’s Place de la Nation, where they sang anti-theft slogans such as “To the thieves!” and “You will not digest our billions!
The opposition, which has constantly decried the authorities’ “stealing” in recent days, welcomed the demonstration that was authorized by the prefect and supported by a huge police force that was placed surrounding the square to supervise the assembly.
An audit conducted by the Court of Auditors of Senegal on the “Response Fund against the effects of Covid-19” amounting to more than 740 billion CFA francs (more than 1.1 billion euros), which will be financed by donors and the state in 2020 and 2021, indicated that there were “shortcomings,” “overbilling,” or “lack of evidence” of expenditures around the middle of December.
The demands being made by civil society include the resignation of all individuals who have been involved and the repayment of the funds that were allegedly misappropriated. The administration has defended itself by emphasizing that the deficiencies that have been reported involve less than one percent of the overall value of the fund, and it has vowed to adopt the recommendations of the Court of Auditors.
“Let justice be done. Alioune Tine, the founder of the Afrikajom Center and a prominent figure in civil society,” stated that he was present in order to “denounce the theft of the monies.” “I am here to speak out against impunity as well as the fairness of the legal system. Papis Diatta, one of the protesters, stated, “I am outraged to find that our authorities have embezzled our billions when we were between life and death.”
The message “No to the third term” was printed on multiple banners since there is still some uncertainty around whether or not President Macky Sall, who was first elected in 2012 for seven years and then re-elected in 2019 for five years, will run for president once again in 2024.
The name of Pape Alé Niang, a journalist who had been detained for more than a month for “disclosing information likely to harm the national defense,” was chanted by the demonstrators, and they called for his release. Pape Alé Niang was initially released from detention, but he was re-arrested on 20 December.