President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal has graciously conceded defeat as results coming in from the country’s presidential election shows a massive lead for his rival Macky Sall. Wade’s move to concede at an early stage seems to have calm fears that he would attempt to rig the elections and forcibly stay in office after 12 years in power. Wade has expressed no intentions to challenge the results of the runoff which came about after both candidates failed to win enough of the votes to clinch victory. But even before Wade conceded, supporters of Macky Sall had already began celebrating by singing and marching through the streets of the country’s capital, Dakar.
The high cost of living and massive unemployment in Senegal had dented Wade’s popularity and there was already growing discontent at his style of leadership. There were rumours that the octogenarian was putting in place plans to have his son succeed him, but mounting pressure in the media about his son’s abuse of power meant those plans were inevitably shelved. Wade was hoping that his popularity amongst his tribesmen would see him through an election that was already marred by angry protests from youths who felt marginalised in the society with high rate of unemployment and social injustice. But that was not enough to ensure victory with a disillusioned electorate more than determined to oust him.
Sall’s victory is clear demonstration that African’s are becoming more determined to take control of their national politics and define the way forward by effectuating change they know will bring about prosperity and usher in lasting democracy.
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