African News

‘Senegal is not yet independent’

Over 50 years after the colonialists handed over the mantle of ownership to Africans for self rule, the debate about whether individual nations on the continent are actually independent appears unabated. The issue has been known to be very familiar among scholarly authorities who mainly base their arguments on empirical facts rather than the political view in terms of external interference that often trigger such debates among Africa’s politicians. The later is more so prominent among former French colonies, where the former colonial masters keep close relations with their former colonies. This relationship sometimes suffers greatly thanks to political wrangling among natives. This is exactly what is happening in Senegal these days.
One politician has decided to take the bull by the hone and said that Senegal is yet to be Independent as most of what reflect independence of a people are in the hands of ‘foreigners’.
Ibrahima Sall, President of the opposition Movement for Democracy and Freedom (MODEL), told party officials that ‘’Senegal is not yet independent, despite the fact that it is preparing for its fiftieth anniversary.’’ He cited a number issues to back up his controversial claim, among them the absence of economic independence and the inability of the country to tackle pressing social issues that continue to affect the masses.
“The first thing is economic independence,’’ Sall said. ‘‘Our economy is still in the hands of foreigners,’’ he added.
The opposition politician argued that what is essential is for the country’s economy to be placed in the hands of Senegalese. But instead, he argued, “all profitable sectors in Senegal, whether banks, insurance institutions, airlines, belong to the French.”
The issue of the French presence in Senegal happens to be a hot topic of late, with the government of France and Senegal just concluding an agreement that will see the French forces return home. Many interpret the presence of the forces of the former colonial masters as influencing the country’s democracy, a situation the majority of Senegal don’t appear to be happy about.
Picking on President Abdoulie Wade’s widely controversial campaign for African support for earthquake ravaged Haiti, the Senegalese politician simply said, “Pikine before Port-au-Prince,’’ Pikine being a suburb in the Senegalese capital of Dakar that was highly affected by last rainy season’s flood, whose people continue to cry for help that doesn’t show any sign of coming soon.
Sall challenged the Senegalese government to come to the aid of the local people before thinking of Haitians.
“It is inconceivable for a head of state of a country in such a great crisis, where the people in suburbs are living in extreme poverty, where the local populations live in water, to talk about bring people from other nations,” he said.

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