Archive | September 2012

Torrential Rains Unearth Political Divisions Within Senegal and Without

Little-Senegal1Despite a financial situation that he describes as difficult, shop owner Momodou M’Baye stands resolutely at the doorway of New Africa Music and Video in Harlem. Without a deluge of customers to interrupt him, he speaks at length regarding political events in his native Senegal.

“I wouldn’t say that the situation is dangerous. There’s no danger but [Senegalese President] Macky Sall’s latest decisions aren’t good,” he contends.

Back home, torrential rains have battered Dakar since mid-August and caused floods that killed 13 people and displaced at least 5,000 others. The rising waters also unearthed artifacts that were buried several thousand years ago and brought Senegal’s more recent political divisions to the surface along with them.

In response to the human and material losses, Senegalese President Macky Sall cut short a trip to South Africa and proposed to scrap the senate and the vacant vice-presidency in order to, as he put it, divert approximately $15 million in savings to invest in flood prevention.

Less than a month later, the national assembly voted in favor of his proposal despite resistance from the senate. The decision left 100 senators, most of which were handpicked by Sall’s predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, jobless.

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