Business, Economics and Jobs

People power in Senegal, Part-II


In Dakar cars drive past a barricade erected during anti-government protests.



Last week street protests in Dakar forced President Abdoulaye Wade to ditch plans for constitutional changes that would have made his victory in next year’s elections a foregone conclusion.

Angry crowds and tear gas have, until recently, been a rare thing in Senegal where the 85-year old has held power for more than a decade.

Now it seems rather than appeasing the people Wade’s climbdown has emboldened protestors who have taken to the streets of the capital and another city, Mbour.

The protests are against the government’s failure to provide reliable electricity and, as ever, against the rising cost of living.

Barricades were set up, government buildings set alight and offices of the state-owned electricity company were ransacked and set on fire.

"We are demonstrating because we cannot bear it anymore. We are spending full days without power," said one female protestor in Dakar.

"When we demonstrated, the president withdrew his reform - so now we are going to protest for his resignation and that of his government,” she added.

This may not be the beginning of the end of Wade's rule but he, like other African leaders in Uganda as well as north Africa, will be finding it increasingly difficult to simply ignore the people's anger.