Senegal bans protest against constitutional change
The authorities in Senegal barred a protest in Dakar Saturday against plans to reform the constitution, which includes reducing the president’s term from seven years to five, the organisers said.
A referendum on the shortened term and other constitutional reforms is to be held on March 20.
Ibrahima Deme, secretary general of a group called the Jubanti Senegal (“Revive Senegal”) Coalition, said the prefect of Dakar had imposed the ban on Friday.
The prefect, Baye Oumy Gueye, “cited the risk of obstructing the movement of people and goods, the acknowledged risks that trouble-makers could infiltrate the demonstration and risk of disturbance to public order,” Deme said.
“It’s a shame for Senegalese democracy. The right to demonstrate is enshrined in the constitution. One wonders what kind of country we live in.”
The prefect declined to comment when reached by AFP.
Senegalese President Macky Sall is under attack from campaign groups, who accuse him of reneging on an election campaign pledge.
Last year he promised to cut his term in office from seven to five years immediately.
But on February 16, Sall said the country’s top court, the constitutional council, had rejected his proposal on the grounds that the reduction could not be implemented immediately, which thus meant he would stay in power until the end of his term, in 2019.
Other points in the March 20 referendum include changes to electoral rules and expanding the powers of the national assembly and constitutional council.