Cablegate: Senegalese President Wade Restructures His Party


DE RUEHDK #2287/01 3251632
R 211632Z NOV 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 16, Senegalese President Adoulaye
Wade chaired a meeting of the Directorate of the ruling Democratic
Party of Senegal (PDS) where Macky Sall, president of the National
Assembly, was removed as number two of the PDS (Wade is the party
leader). The meeting also resolved to introduce a constitutional
amendment to reduce the term of office of a National Assembly
president from five years to one. End summary

You Made a Mistake and Now You Pay!

2. (SBU) Prior to convening the meeting, which Sall did not attend,
President Wade told him that "he had made the mistake" of asking
Wade's son Karim to testify before the National Assembly. Karim
Wade heads National Agency for the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (ANOCI) a quasi-governmental body attached to the
presidency that is responsible for implementing major infrastructure
projects in Dakar in the lead up to the March 2007 Organization of
Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit. ANOCI has been plagued by
accusations of mismanagement and corruption and many political
observers speculated that Sall wanted to embarrass Karim Wade by
compelling him to testify before the National Assembly. Reportedly,
President Wade told Sall that "in politics you pay for your mistakes
in cash" just before he stripped him of party title. Sall was
demoted from number two in the PDS to one of seventeen PDS national
secretaries. He was given a totally irrelevant portfolio that not

only puts him "in charge" of relations with the elders of the party
but which publicly implies that he, as are the elders he is to
liaise with, is politically finished in the PDS. Sall's demotion,
after that of former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck, clearly underlines
Wade's determination to organize his succession without any
competition from within his party.


3. (SBU) As the number two in the PDS and the architect of both
Wade's presidential election victory and the PDS's legislative
victory, Sall became a legitimate pretender to the presidency. The
PDS's problem, however, is that it is not a traditional party based
on a political ideology. Instead, it is a quasi-cult movement
centered around one man without any real functioning democratic
mechanisms. Sall was chosen by Wade under the assumption that he
did not have presidential ambitions and would not be an obstacle to
Wade's desire to determine his successor, for which many speculate
he is grooming his son Karim. Mamadou Oumar Ndiaye, director of the
daily newspaper Temoin who acted as an intermediary between the
ades and Sall, told Poloff that Wade was prepared t "forgive"
Macky but Karim opposed such a move bcause he sees the latter as a
serious obstacle t Karim's eventual political control of a
renovatd PDS.


4. (SBU) Prior the meeting of the PDS Directorat, President Wade
also is said to have told Sall, "I am not the instigator of your
political demotion but I cannot stop them." In fact, it is well
known that Wade orchestrated the move by spurring regional PDS
branches to unanimously request the elimination of the position of
number two of the PDS. Regional PDS leaders also fiercely attacked
Sall for his lack of loyalty in undermining the work of the
president's son.

5. (SBU) However, removing Sall from his position at the National
Assembly is more complicated. According to the current
constitution, the position of National Assembly president has a
five-year term of office. However President Wade, wily as ever,
instructed his nephew Doudou Wade, who heads the PDS's parliamentary
group, to initiate a petition calling for the resignation of Sall as
president of the National Assembly. Meanwhile, the PDS Directorate
has set into motion a plan to remove Sall if he refuses to resign.
The PDS will initiate a constitutional amendment to reduce the term
of the president of the National Assembly to one year, which would
allow the PDS to get rid of Sall in 2008. Such a tactic was first
used by the Socialists in the 90s. Thus, while Sall is still
resisting, his support within PDS is not strong enough to save him.


6. (SBU) The PDS Directorate chose seventeen national secretaries
who will be Wade's deputies in running the party and there is no
hierarchy among them. Clearly, Wade is seeking to prevent potential
successors from using a proximity to him to build bases for their
own presidential ambitions.

7. (SBU) Wade is also promoting the hawks within the PDS. In the
same November 16 meeting, Babacar Gaye was appointed spokesperson of
the party, in addition to his current job as Wade's chief of staff.
Abdoulaye Faye, a loyal companion and a strong supporter of party
discipline, remains in charge of conflict resolution within the
party with the rank of minister of state. Finally, the hard-line
Minister of Justice Cheikh Tidiane Sy has been appointed as the PDS
national secretary in charge of unions. In the current context of
growing social tensions between the GOS and unions, this is a signal
that Wade may be adopting a tougher line. With a weak opposition,
Wade's tinkering with institutions has, so far, been risk-free.
What is certain is that more internal fights at the summit of the
state and a lack of democratic mechanisms within the PDS will not be
conducive to the peace and stability that the country has enjoyed in
the past seven years.

© Scoop Media

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