The Interview – Exclusive: “Macky Sall abdicated in the face of popular pressure”, according to opponent Ousmane Sonko

Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko gave an exclusive interview to from his home in Dakar. He believes that by giving up running for a third term, Macky Sall has only “abdicated to popular” and international pressure. Claiming to be “fully justified”, he says he is confident of being elected president of Senegal in 2024, “from the first round”.

Senegalese dissident and president of the Pastef party Ousmane Sonko gave an exclusive interview to from his home in Dakar, where since his conviction in early June he has been sentenced to two years in prison for “youth corruption”.

“I am not under house arrest”, but arbitrarily detained, believes Ousmane Sonko, for whom no legal or administrative decision obliges him to stay at home.

In his address to the Nation on Monday 3 July, President Macky Sall put an end to a long tension by renouncing to stand for a new term. For Ousmane Sonko, Macky Sall did not make this decision because he is a democrat, but because of the pressure from his people and international pressure.

“An outgoing president has been congratulated by part of the world, simply for having respected his country’s constitution”, emphasizes Ousmane Sonko, who laments the “infantilization of Africa”.


Ousmane Sonko compares the Macky Sall years to a “dictatorship”. What do you call a country where the president “recruits private militias and allows them to open fire on unarmed protesters?” asks the opponent.

Following the verdict of Ousmane Sonko, Senegal experienced an outbreak of violence in June that left several dead.

“Until now, the Senegalese had not risen against the third term of Macky Sall, but against the persecution of an opponent named Ousmane Sonko”, says the president of the Pastef party.

Macky Sall’s announcement of his non-candidacy has also left Senegalese “almost indifferent”, he adds.

Ousmane Sonko appears more threatened than ever by his conviction in a sex scandal. “I’m still fully eligible,” he said, however.

“Ready to Forgive”

The opponent assures that Macky Sall “told some that he will prevent his candidacy, whatever it takes.” The violence he is subjected to “has never been done before”, he adds.

Although he claims to have no official or unofficial contact with the president, he claims to be “ready to forgive” and even to “forget.” He wants Macky Sall to “finish this mandate in style” and “leave in peace”.

The majority of the 17 million Senegalese want his candidacy, he believes. And “if we go to the elections, I will be declared the winner in the first round”, concludes the president of Pastef.

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