The Trial of Dakar’s Mayor Has Cast a Harsh Light on Senegal’s Democracy

The Trial of Dakar’s Mayor Has Cast a Harsh Light on Senegal’s Democracy
Supporters of Karim Wade, a former Senegalese government minister jailed for corruption, stage a protest near the residence of former President Abdoulaye Wade, Dakar, Senegal, March 23, 2015 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

One of the highest-profile cases in Senegalese President Macky Sall’s anti-corruption drive has turned into a stain on his record. And the events of recent weeks suggest the story won’t be going away anytime soon.

In March of last year, authorities arrested Khalifa Sall, the mayor of Dakar, Senegal’s capital, on suspicion of fraud and misuse of public funds. A year later, a court convicted Khalifa Sall, who is not related to the president, and sentenced him to five years in prison.

But long before the judgment against Khalifa Sall was handed down, the legitimacy of the case had been called into question. Supporters of the mayor have accused Macky Sall, whose vow to fight corruption was a central part of the platform that swept him into office in 2012, of using the judiciary to sideline a popular rival.

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