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Cablegate: Senegal-President of National Assembly Makes Peace With

VZCZCXRO1235
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #0053 0141135
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141135Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9868
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS DAKAR 000053

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/RSA, DRL AND INR/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KDEM ECON SG
SUBJECT: SENEGAL-PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MAKES PEACE WITH
PRESIDENT WADE

REF: A) Dakar 2287 B) Dakar 2437 C) Dakar 2438

1. (SBU)Summary: With the mediation of the brand new Caliph-General
of the Mouride Brotherhood, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and
National Assembly speaker Macky Sall have apparently patched up
their differences. What remains unclear is if this detente is a
case of forgive and forget or just a postponement of Sall's eventual
ouster from his parliamentary perch. What is clear is that the
National Assembly will become even more dominated by President Wade.
END SUMMARY.

Divine Intervention
-------------------

2. (SBU) Last weekend President Wade received Macky Sall following a
complicated mediation process managed by Serigne Bara Mbacke, the
new Caliph-General of the Mouride Brotherhood. Serigne Bara sent
his brother, the current Senegalese Ambassador to Kuwait, Serigne
Abdou Lahad Mbacke, and another one his disciples, Minister of
Mining and Industry Macicke Niang, to intercede on behalf of Macky
Sall, who had earlier asked the now deceased former Caliph, Serigne
Saliou Mbakce, to assist him in solving his problems with Wade to
calm tensions at the summit of the State. After meeting the two
emissaries from Touba, the capital of Mouridism, President Wade
received Sall whereupon the two men agreed to end hostilities that
began in June when the National Assembly's Finance Commission called
the president's son Karim Wade lead National Agency for the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (ANOCI) to testify before it.
In a press statement following the meeting, presidential nephew and
PDS (Democratic Party of Senegal) parliamentary group leader Doudou
Wade, who had been leading the attack to have Sall ousted, announced
that the hatchet had been buried upon the personal intervention of
Serigne Bara.

So Is It Really Over?
---------------------

3. (SBU) Embassy contacts close to Wade, Sall and the marabouts in
Touba told Poloff that this fight is far from over and that Wade,
who is a Mouride, had to go through the motions of forgiving Sall in
order not to offend the Mouride Caliph. In reality, this is a short
reprieve and Wade remains committed to ousting Sall from his job as
head National Assembly before his constitutionally mandated
five-year term. In a press statement Minister of Transportation
Farba Senghor, said that even if the President was magnanimous
enough to forgive Sall, the party would not. Senghor is known to
speak for Wade and this message bodes ill for Sall.

The Caliph Steps In
-------------------

4. (SBU) According to an Embassy contact, Abdou Fattah, a
politically connected half-brother of Serigne Bara, played a role in
putting pressure on Caliph-General Serigne Bara to make this rather
early and risky intervention in political affairs. Serigne Bara's
predecessor refrained from performing such a role, when it became
clear in the electoral tensions of the 90s that the disciples wish
to see a separation of the spiritual and temporal functions in the
brotherhood. Although, in what could be interpreted as the last act
of dying man to secure peace in his country, when he met Macky Sall
a few days before passing away, Serigne Saliou told him that it was
his wish for this fight to end between the two men. For Serigne
Bara this was calculated risk as he gains in showing that he is in
charge and that Wade adheres to his guidance as he did with the
previous caliph-general. This was a first and successful test of
his authority and shows those who doubted it that his authority will
be not be any less than that of previous Caliphs-General. However,
many fear that, unlike his predecessor, if he chooses to interfere
in political matters, he may expose himself to criticism and
controversies and this may undermine his rule. In the coming weeks,
the choice of the men in his entourage and their influence on his
decisions will indicate if Bara plans to remain actively involved in
Senegal's personality-driven politics.

Comment
-------

5. (SBU) This crisis between Wade and Sall, or more importantly
between the President and the National Assembly has been a dominant
and distracting feature of recent political developments for all the
wrong reasons. This latest twist is certainly not the final chapter
in this mini-epic as Wade is known to settle all of his scores.
Meanwhile, the intervention of Serigne Bara, a week after becoming
Caliph-General, seems to indicate that he may be more willing to get
involved in the country's affairs than his predecessor and marks a
bold start to his Caliphate.
Mullally

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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