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Cablegate: Wade Takes Control of the National Assembly

VZCZCXRO7266
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #0771 1831323
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011323Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0756
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS DAKAR 000771

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: WADE TAKES CONTROL OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

1. SBU) Summary: On June 24, the National Assembly renewed its
leadership. The changes further isolated the President of the
National Assembly, Macky Sall, whose main supporters lost their
positions. END SUMMARY.

Harassing the Chair of the National Assembly
--------------------------------------------
2. (SBU) After firing him as the number two of the ruling
Democratic Party of Senegal (PDS), President Abdoulaye Wade is
continuing to put the pressure on Sall to force his resignation as
the President of the National Assembly. The latter fell into
disgrace after he initiated a hearing to have Wade's son, Karim,
testify about the use of public funds in building infrastructure
projects in the run up to the Organization of Islamic Conference
(OIC) Summit that some have estimated go as high as USD 800,000,000.
Wade and his son Karim no longer trust Sall. A counselor at the
President's office close to Karim told Embassy that Karim played a
major role in the latest changes because Sall has clearly shown that
"he does not want to cooperate with him."

The losers
-----------
3. (SBU) Among the most significant changes are the dismissal of
MBaye Ndiaye and Aliou Sow, who were respectively vice President of
the Assembly and Chair of the Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee.
Their departure will deprive Sall of strong figures who can repel
attacks against him within the Assembly. Kalidou Niasse and Serigne
Fallou Mbacke, who did not sign a petition initiated by the ruling
party to remove Sall, have also lost their positions as members of
the Assembly's Directorate. As a result, they lose generous
financial and in-kind privileges of access to two cars; one thousand
liters of gas; USD 1,000 in telephone credit per month; and a
monthly salary almost double that of a regular member. With the
departure of Aliou Sow, the Youth wing of the PDS no longer has a
voice in the leadership of the Assembly. A young Deputy at the
Assembly told Embassy that Wade was unhappy that the Youth wing of
the party did not oppose Aliou Sow when he sided with Sall's stance
against the President.

The winners
-----------
4. (SBU) Those who supported the removal of Sall received
promotions. Bocar Sedikh Kane, the Mayor of Gediawaye (a very
populous suburb of Dakar) is now Chair of the Foreign Affairs
Committee and NDiawar Toure, the Mayor of Rufisque becomes Vice
President of the Assembly. Both executed Wade's orders to remove
Macky Sall without hesitation. They also received promotions within
the Directorate Committee of PDS. Wade also promoted Mamadou Diagne
Fada to the rank of Vice President as part of his process to reunite
his "political family" by allowing dissidents back. The new
leadership of the Assembly also includes, Abdoulaye Babou as Deputy
Majority Leader, Babou was a member of the opposition who joined the
ruling party two years ago. He will help the PDS with legal issues
especially as Wade attempts to extend his term in office.


Comment
-------
5. (SBU) President Wade has a hawkish and unsophisticated
political entourage that does not tolerate any dissent within the
party. At present, there are still about fifteen questions pending
raised by Deputies to which Ministers have yet to answer. An
atmosphere of suspicion between those who support the current chair
and those who oppose him is prevalent. This negative atmosphere has
paralyzed the institution with most deputies fearing reprisals if
they show independence. Wade seems determined to pursue a strategy
of total control of institutions and the elimination of
independent-minded leaders such as Macky Sall. Wade does not
forgive and forget. His last attempt to emasculate Sall was stopped
at the behest of the new Khaliphe-General of the Mouride brotherhood
to which Wade belongs. It was clear then this was just a temporary
reprieve. Wade will not be satisfied until he has totally destroyed
Sall and thus we can expect a further intensification of the battle
between the two.
Smith

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