“Sonko is dividing the country”, “Sonko is jeopardizing the stability of Senegal”, “Sonko’s speech is racist”… For the past few days, the mayor of Ziguinchor has been under fire from critics. His opponents reproach him for his “ethnicist” remarks after he accused the head of state of having “an problem “ with Casamance and “stigmatising” its inhabitants. By erecting a barrier between the region where he comes from and the rest of the country, Ousmane Sonko is playing a dangerous game, say his detractors in essence.
Senegal: when timber trafficking fuels the rebellion in Casamance
For its part, the majority acquired in Macky Sall does not hesitate to accuse – implicitly or explicitly – the deputy of consorting with the Casamance rebels. As tension rises in Senegal as the July 31 legislative elections approach, political columnist Babacar Justin Ndiaye criticizes the instrumentalization of the conflict.
Young Africa: Ousmane Sonko’s remarks were everything immediately qualified as separatists by his adversaries. How do you analyze them?
Babacar Justin Ndiaye: By his origins, Ousmane Sonko is as much from the north as from the south of Senegal. His speech is therefore primarily political, and it has also led to a response from the majority. But the Casamance file conditioning the unity of the country, I believe that we would benefit from using it as little as possible in the public debate.
Since his election as mayor of Ziguinchor in January, Ousmane Sonko seems to have strengthened his positions regarding Casamance and want to make it a region that makes the things differently…