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Cablegate: Senegalese Foreign Minister Fired

VZCZCXRO1451
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1256/01 2780742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050742Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3152
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 001256

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SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/RSA, DRL AND INR/AA
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KDEM ECON SG
SUBJECT: Senegalese Foreign Minister Fired

1. (SBU) Summary: In a development that has come as a shock to many
in the international community, Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane
Gadio has been relieved of his post and replaced by Madicke Niang,
the former Minister of Justice. Niang has been replaced as Justice
Minister by Minister of Education Moustapha Sourang in what has
become one of President Abdoulaye Wade's most significant Cabinet
reshuffles. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Long referred to as one of the "untouchables," Foreign
Minister Gadio is the only Minister in Wade's government that had,
up until yesterday, survived in his job since the PDS came to power
in 2000. Long considered by everybody in the international
community as one of the country's most able ministers, Gadio's
removal from the cabinet, without a follow-on assignment, has raised
questions as to why he was fired. In the Machiavellian world of
Senegalese politics, it has long been known that many within the PDS
and in the President's entourage had been jealous of Gadio's access
to the President and his high international profile.

So begins the rumor mill
------------------------

3. (SBU) According to sources close to the President, Gadio was the
victim of his own success and that this firing was the result of an
accumulation of these successes. For example, Gadio was widely
praised by American officials during the recent signing of an MCC
compact with Senegal to the detriment of presidential son Karim, who
was told in no uncertain terms that he was not welcome at the event
due to his having derailed a previous compact the MCC was on the
verge of signing with Senegal in 2007. A member of the ruling PDS
told Embassy that, although Karim is in charge of International
cooperation, Gadio did everything he could to prevent him from
playing a role in the finalization of the MCC compact and he had
complained to his father about this lack of cooperation from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Note. As to this latter matter, this
was very much the preferred outcome of both this Embassy and MCA.
End note.)

A Master of self promotion
--------------------------

4. (SBU) Wade's entourage admits that Gadio was a good minister, but
they hasten to add that he was also working for himself. They
indicate that he only appointed people loyal to him in Embassies.
They said that only the Ambassadors were chosen by Wade and that
Gadio always found a way to appoint his people to all other
positions. One of Karim's aides told Embassy that, despite the fact
that foreign affairs are "a domain reserve" (i.e. under the sole
responsibility of the Head of State), Gadio either came up with
reasons not to send people chosen by the President or made life
difficult for them in Embassies. He added that there are several
people the PDS wanted to be posted in Embassies, but that Gadio
never acted on them during the past two years. But what is
unforgivable in his view was that Gadio has set up "Mouvements de
Soutien" (groups of supporters) among Senegalese living abroad with
the goal of having political support if he runs in future
presidential elections. What made these groups suspicious is that
Gadio never informed Wade about their existence.

Lack of solidarity
------------------

5. (SBU) Additionally, it is being said that Gadio contributed to a
recently published book by respected investigative journalist Abdou
Latif Coulibaly where he outlines in stark detail the catastrophic
management and potential embezzlement of the formerly Karim Wade-run
National Agency for the Organization of the Islamic Conference
(ANOCI). This would seem to corroborate strong rumors, recently
confirmed by a highly placed source, that Gadio is the eminence
grise behind an anti-Karim movement within the PDS.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) The firing of Gadio seems to be part of a process of
getting rid of all strong cabinet figures who may potentially
compete with Karim for Wade's succession. This latest move will put
Karim in a position to further control the PDS's vast patronage
network. Wade seems to find it unacceptable that political figures
who were anonymous before joining his cabinet now see themselves as
his potential successors without his blessing. If Wade's strategy
to clear the way for his son is fully implemented, Karim will be
left as the dominant figure in the cabinet. For example, the new
Foreign Minister is known as being part of Karim's entourage and
acts as his sometime mentor. The strategy may work within the PDS
but it remains to be seen whether or not Karim has enough time and
charisma to alter his negative image among the voters. End
Comment.


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SMITH

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