Falana: Illegal Postponement of Elections Warrants ECOWAS Sanctions on Senegal



Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN has urged the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to urgently organise an extra-ordinary session to discuss and respond to the deteriorating human rights and rule of law situation in Senegal.

Falana’s call followed President Macky Sall’s decision to call off this month’s elections citing as pretext a row over the eligibility of candidates.

According to Falana, “the ECOWAS leaders should consider imposing targeted sanctions including imposing travel bans, asset freezes and other targeted sanctions on Mr Sall and officials of his government responsible for serious violations of the democratic rights of the people of Senegal.”

The statement, read in part: “Imposing targeted sanctions on Mr Sall and officials of his government is consistent with the provisions of ECOWAS treaties and protocols including article 45 (2) of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.”

“Article 2 (1) & (2) of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance stipulates that: 1. No substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws in the last six (6) months before the elections, except with the consent of a majority of Political actors. 2. All the elections shall be organized on the dates or at periods fixed by the Constitution or the electoral laws.”

“In July 2023, President Macky Sall dropped his ambition to run for a third term in this year’s election, ending years of uncertainty over his political future that helped fuel deadly opposition protests.”

“Since then, he has been manipulating the democratic process to install his surrogate. The illegal postponement of the elections is due to President Sacky Mall’s fear that his chosen candidate would be rejected in the polls by the Senegalese people.”

“The postponement of the elections is a constitutional coup, and a major threat to the rule of law and constitutional government not only in Senegal but also across the subregion, especially given planned exit of Burkina-Faso, Niger and Mali from the ECOWAS.”

“The government of Senegal has severely repressed its people. This transgression deserves sanctions.”

“The ECOWAS leaders must act now to compel full and effective compliance with its treaties and protocols and to serve as deterrent to other ECOWAS member states.”

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