Simply shameful !!!

 Yesterday, a little more than 7 members of the senegalese government, led by none other than Mr. Amadou Ba, the Prime Minister were facing the press in an attempt to explain the ongoing crisis in the country. Trying at their best, to be more convincing than truthful. More importantly, to refute all together the serious accusations of misconduct by senegalese security forces during the riots of June 1st, 2nd, 3rd that have led to many casualties among young protesters. (Over 20 were killed).

In retrospect, watching the press conference alone today, listening to all these cabinet members literally lying through their teeth, has made me realize the depth of the damage done to our country by this regime of incompetent and heartless authoritarians. Damages done to the rule of law, to the social fabric, to the integrity and honor of our security forces and to the basic tenets of our vibrant democracy completely spoiled and in shambles. And the responsibility of this present political and social powder keg in Senegal, lies entirely with his excellency Mr. Macky Sall, the sitting president.

A president who, since his first election in 2012, has been politically motivated/committed to using the full extent of the law to assert and consolidate power. A president whose modus operandi has always been to first and foremost use provisions of the rule of law in order to intimidate, to apply pressure or to eliminate his political adversaries. For the past 11 years of his tenure, he has been successfully helped in his totalitarian quest by a political elite more into its privileges than its dutiful role in a parliamentary democracy. To top it all, President Macky Sall and his government officials have always found an ally within the majority of the senegalese media outlets owners, public or private (RTS, TFM, GFM, 2STV, Le Soleil, L’Observateur, Le Quotidien among the most prominent) who have been all dedicated to not just broadcasting the lies, distortions and manipulations coming from the government, but inflating them as well.

It’s beyond comprehension for some of us in 2023, to witness first hand the democratic standards and values that have made Senegal an exception in the continent being destroyed. By the actions and horrible decision-making of our government officials. The use of lethal force during protests is prevalent and permissible. It is unconceivable that in Senegal today, the media model and the political framework is not capable of recognizing the reality of a President ( Macky Sall), so afraid of dissension, so afraid of facing political opponents that his government will resort to extreme and anti-democratic measures. All in order to silence activists, to shutdown media outlets deemed unfavorable (Walf Fadjiri Media Group), to arbitrarily arrest and jail both journalists and opinion/news commentators.

To make matters worse, during the early June riots in Dakar and major cities, his government went as far as completely cutting off internet access and blocking social media platforms. Yes, they did that. Offering an honest account of the political situation in Senegal today, can certainly land you in jail. A take or an opinion from a simple post on social media definitely will. And by contrast, watching government officials shamelessly lying at a press conference designed to shed light on tragic events that have have taken place two weeks ago, was just unbearable. Especially when they involved the killing of protesters and the use of firearms by unidentified individuals apparently operating side by side or alongside security forces. Among the officials present at the media gathering, one man has caught my attention: the Interior Minister named Antoine Felix Diome. He has been found to be the single most dishonest Interior Minister in the history of that office.

In light of these events, it is highly doubtful that the man has an ounce of credibility left. Having been found by public opinion to have lie about lying, over and over in his different accounts of these events. It is amazing that someone so fundamentally dishonest could have reach the height of Interior Minister. It is my belief that President Macky Sall with cabinet members such as Ismaila Madior Fall (Justice) Antoine Felix Diome (Interior) Sidiki Kaba (Armed Forces) Abdou Karim Fofana (Spokesperson) has surrounded himself with men who have done more to subvert the standards and tradition of our country, the standards and values of our democracy than any other in living memory. Not because they were so awful and pathetic during the press conference. But with their ineptitude and incompetence, comes the sad realization that under this president, the absolute subversion of the truth that certain media outlets have undertaken in our country is close to being complete now.

The country is divided and highly partisan. The evidence of your own eyes and ears is no longer. The government lies at will. Why? Because the people whose job and role is to tell the truth and hold our government officials accountable (The Media), join them in their lies. Initially, for example on a big lie about rape and death threats allegations against Ousmane Sonko the most prominent political opponent of President Macky Sall, and subsequently now, about everything. The mess we’ve been led into under this regime is absolutely unreal and frightening. Senegal is deeply divided because people can’t see the wood for the trees. People can’t no longer see the truth for the lies. And the only way to reverse this trend and course is for the majority of those working in the media, to find their moral compass and to stop kowtowing to this president. Stop pretending that there are two sides to every story. We all know what’s good and what’s bad. What is right and what is wrong. What is true and what is false. And we fundamentally know by now what President Macky Sall and his regime are about. Some of us, always have.


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