Connect to share and comment

Africa, explained
 

Wade shows no sign of relinquishing power

Aging Senegalese president refuses to retire, will run for an unconstitutional "third term."
Youssou N'DourEnlarge
Youssou N'Dour (R), a popular Senegalese singer and one of Africa's most recognised artists, attends a press conference alongside his lawyer (L), to discuss his appeal of a Dakar court decision disqualifying him from being a presidential candidate in the Senegalese national election, in Dakar, on January 28, 2012. While Senegal's top court said on January 27 that his application to run for presidency was inadmissible, N'Dour has vowed to challenge his disqualification and insists he will take part in presidential polls in February. Meanwhile, Senegal's opposition called today for popular resistance against President Abdoulaye Wade as the capital recovered from riots that erupted after the country's top court said he could run for a third term. (Julien Tack/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — He's 85-years old, has ruled since 2000 and has no intention of giving up power now.

Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade has been cleared to run for an unconstitutional "third term" and, handily, the same judges who gave him the nod also barred his strongest challenger, the musician Youssou N'Dour.

Violent riots followed the announcement on Friday which was subsequently challenged by N'Dour. His appeal has now been thrown out.

More on GlobalPost: Senegal upholds ruling allowing Wade to seek third term

Where does this leave Senegal? Looking an awful lot like a North African state round about this time last year.

Opposition and civil society groups are promising "mass action" against Wade's candidacy.

N'Dour, 52, may be something of a totem for anti-Wade groups but he's also a little late to the game. Young Senegalese musicians — and rappers in particular — have been challenging the president and leading protests for months.

More on GlobalPost: Riots in Senegal after Wade is cleared to seek third term

By refusing to let power go Wade is heading for a collision with his country's young and disenfranchised population. The size of the protests to come and the way the authorities choose to handle them will determine whether Senegal is to become the first state in sub-Saharan Africa to feel the Arab Spring.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa/Senegal news-wade-runs-for-reelection