With the new year unfolding, the worst betrayal of Africa’s dream to transform her Pan-African long-sought project into reality is about to happen with the likely appointment, or rather election of Macky Sall, Senegal’s beleaguered President, by his peers, to chair the African Union (AU), the most important institutional vehicle set up to lead the continent to its unity.
Let’s make it Chrystal clear from the onset: it would not just be a blunder but an insult to the legacies of such a framework born almost at the same time when African nations were recovering their sovereignty after centuries of colonialism and slavery as they committed themselves to building a strong platform to overcome the fractured conditions, balkanized said poetically the first President of Senegal, Leopold Sedar Senghor, under which they were given back their independence.
It was on May 25th, 1963 that the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the AU’s ancestor, was set up by visionary African leaders who understood that only through peace and unity would Africa become a force in a then ideologically divided world, as the Cold war was raging. Many are still eager to dismiss the first continental body as an empty shell, a Club of Heads of State, as would qualify it Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, considering the paralysis that gripped it all along the East-West divide between the Communist and Capitalist camps when the African countries remained caught in the middle, obliged to align behind the new god-fathers influencing the world order.
Yet, despite whatever has been said about it, the OAU achieved two fundamental goals, namely the end of colonial rule across the continent, providing the impetus in the battle to complete the decolonization process throughout it, while being at the forefront in the battle that ended the apartheid rule in South Africa and its extension in Namibia.
In the halting march of Africa towards a more dynamic integration process, a new day arrived in 2002 when her political leaders decided to replace the OAU by the AU widely formed as a carbon-copy of the European Union (EU) not only borrowing nearly her acronym but also the structures that had been devised in Brussels.
The advent of the AU intervened against the backdrop of the post-Cold war and particularly in an age where globalization ruled supreme, with the admission of China (in December 2001) into the World Trade Organization (WTO), the establishment of various regional trading blocs in the mold of the Spaghetti integration as coined by Jagdish Bhagwati, and the necessity for the continent to tidy-up her affairs in order to compete more effectively…
This was further facilitated by an additional agreement reached with the most powerful nations by the African leaders, bent on reclaiming the narrative of the continent to stop it being that of a “hopeless”, as it was depicted in some circles and make it one of a “rising” star.
In 2001, at a meeting in Genoa, Italy, in the sidelines of the Group of the most industrialized nations, the so-called G7, a cohort of African heads of State, promised to end the internecine and left-over proxy wars, manage better their economies, through sound macro-economic policies and transparent governance while entrenching the rule of Law and democracy in their territories. That was the basis of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), the template for greater financial support from the international community to a continent that expressed its needs in nearly 700 billion dollars for a period of ten years as the way forward to the continental renaissance.
Great hopes followed the inception of the AU. But today it has become an almost dead institution whose silence is deafening when the continent is stricken by all kind of challenges. Conflicts are tearing apart many societies, not the least Ethiopia where it is headquartered, making a joke of its promise to mute the guns by 2020, under the Agenda 2063, crafted under its aegis to define the future of Africa. Military coups are on the rise. People are being killed by brutal forces like those chasing Sudanese democracy crusaders. Democracy is receding all over, with the autocrats clinging to their positions once they manage to sail through the democratic window. And even worst is the fact that, like never before, the riches of the African nations are being stolen in broad daylight by so-called democrats turned into the biggest plunderers of the continent’s resources.
Enters Macky Sall. In truth, the man hailed as a new kind of leader, born after Senegal, his country, gained its independence in April 1960, epitomizes the worst developments seen in recent history of Africa.
Let’s try to list, albeit tentatively, few of his destructive crimes ever since the Senegalese electorate duped by his promise to bring about a “virtuous” and “sober” approach to governing the country, casting himself as a true democrat, handed him over the reigns of power.
What they point to is a ruthless man, cynical, determined to reduce the democratic heritage of Senegal to rubbles just to maintain himself at its helms.
The question that sprung from his misdemeanors is to know on what grounds African leaders should elect someone whose credentials include the cold killings of several young Senegalese that he masterminded and supervised, particularly last march when they tried to demonstrate against his undemocratic rule.
One of them, Cheikh Wade, a tailor, carrying the national flag, was shot by the militias set up by Macky Sall and covered by the national security forces transformed into a killing squad. With his hands full of blood, how, on earth, Macky Sall can have any legitimacy to conduct the destiny of the continent at least as the voice speaking for it during various events ahead ?
Who doesn’t know that Sall is an hostage taker? My book, published in French at the Editions l’Harmattan, Paris, under the title: Otage d’un Etat, doesn’t just detail what charade he has made of what was once a respected justice system. On July 29th, 2019, as the book recounts, at pre-dawn, following the Kompromat tradition that used to be practiced by the Nazi-type regimes, the security forces of Senegal came to my house to capture me and throw me illegally, with the executive and the Judiciary plotting, in a prison cell in the midst of hardened criminals. My only mistake was to have expressed my criticisms of his mismanagement of the country and also to be seen as the one who sourced the BBC for a damning report it had done that exposed the hijacking of the hydrocarbon resources discovered in the country to give them to his brother, Aliou, working with an international crook, Frank Timis a man who had received the highest fine in the history of the London Stock Exchange. After 53 days of illegal detention I was freed without explanation nor justification of my arrest -only presented, with the help of a corrupt media corps, as a way to punish me because I had offended the Head of State and threatened to destabilize the State with my writings. Ever since, I live abroad in exile, knowing quite well, in the light of the many disguised assassinations done by his regime, that I would be a fair game if I had remained in what used to be a free and open society but has been transformed as a murderous drug-cartel-like territory.
The African Union deserves a decent leader at this critical juncture when the world is engaged in a throat-cutting race amidst uncertainties ranging from corona to decarbonization, artificial intelligence, driverless cars, among many rapid changes unfolding at a breakneck speed.
It is not just his destruction of the social capital of Senegal, his trampling with its democratic norms, the erosion of freedom of expression and transparency of democratic processes that helped achieve two main democratic, peaceful, transitions in 2000 and 2012, that makes Macky Sall unfit to rule the AU.
There is worst for the continent with him in charge. All Africans should know that this is a man who is nurturing an ethnic ambition in his drive to impose from West to Eastern Africa a new form of a Caliphate based on his new-found belief that the Fulani Group, which he claims to represent, should be ruling large swathes of the continent in souvenir of the past-Fulani Empire, including the early 19th Century Fulbe Macina Empire. “There is still work to be done for ethnicity”, warned Chinua Achebe in his book, The Problem of Nigeria. Who would forget what happened in strongholds of Fulanis like in Rwanda and Burundi, as Sall considers that there is a linearity between the Fulanis of West Africa and the Tutsis in the Great Lake Region. When an analphabet, like him, plays with such a sensible subject, it is better to prevent him from leading.
Just look at how he cultivates ethnically the President of Guinea Bissau, Emballo Sissokho, suspected of links with drug-dealers and terrorists, and the Gambian one, Adama Barrow, his poodle, to whom he has given his shares from the loot he made of Senegal’s land, finances and Real-Estates.
A profoundly corrupt person, Macky Sall has never stopped stealing the riches of Senegal.
Even before becoming President, one of his main achievements was to misuse an amount of 7 million dollars given by Taïwan to support it. When I organized a contract from Nigeria, under the G-to-G cooperation, to give Senegal barrels of Oil, Macky Sall stole them. From land grab to infrastructure contracts of all kinds, his only activities as Head of State revolve around privatizing the resources of the country. His thirst led him to transform the 1000 billion CFA earmarked as an urgency package in the fight against the corona, last year, into a money-making business, since the main contractors selected without competition included chiefly his son and his acolytes in what is one of the crudest conflict of interests.
As President of The African Union, he would do better in his capture of the resources. Not only will he use his position to speak for his sole interests to the main stakeholders he would be meeting on behalf of the continent, from the G7 to Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, to Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish leader and, of course, the French President, Emmanuel Macron.
Nobody should doubt that he has just applied for this position to embellish his image and lobby the world for what is his secret dream, which is to force his way to a life-long presidency following the footsteps of the autocratic leaders who are his inspirators…
What is tragic is that he can’t intellectually frame a coherent discourse when meeting all these foreign leaders. That will not be the first time he would fail. He could not organize the Africa-China Summit last year. He stole the Forum of Peace and Security from its creator. He has nothing to show from his Presidency of Nepad. He was a figurehead when he attended G7 and G20 meetings. He is just a kid who found himself suddenly playing in an environment he never believed he would be invited to in his lifetime only. To find himself in this cohort owing to his ability to steal his way to power has made him go banana. Such a person who relies on his belonging to interlope circles, including an axis of freemasons and homosexuals, seems ready to do whatever it may take to see through his criminal Agenda. He is a danger facing the continent and eager to drive it to a future that may destroy its soul…
It may be late to sound the alarm bell. African leaders may fall in his trap by electing him as Chair of the African Union. In that case, they will be in the company of the Senegalese voters whom I starkly warned, in 2012, not to vote in Macky Sall, calling him and his then adversary in the presidential race, Wade, as a choice between the plague and the cholera.
This time around, it will be a deadly blow to the prospect of Africa’s legitimate ambition to achieve the dreams of the continental project framers.
Don’t underestimate the capacity of Macky Sall to sell out this continent for petty gains. Money, money, money, and power grabbing, at all cost, drive his vision. People who know his weaknesses will not hesitate not only to manipulate him, being sure that he is the perfect Trojan Horse of fame able and ever illing to play the dirty role but to transform him as their new tool planted at the heart of the continent to derail its integration dream.
One hint says it all: just after taking over as President of the AU, he has managed to get Africa to do a Summit with Europe in Brussels where he can count on criminal links like The EU Commissioner for Internal affairs, Thierry Breton, knowned to be doing unsavory deals in Senegal.
The summit is billed for next month. Guess what? Who has taken over yesterday as the EU Chair? Emmanuel Macron! It is probable that Macky Sall became Chair of the AU, under the prodding of the French, to do their bids and lined-up Africa behind their security and imperial new dreams -to be what they call their “Nègre de service!”.
Making him Chairman of the African Union when so many issues deserve to be addressed in earnest, when the continent is facing upheavals of all kinds, when a new scramble to recolonize it is no longer a faint prospect, when democracy is suffering, when the ordinary Africans are falling back into the poverty trap, would be just the curse for a….hopeless continent.
How can we afford to hand-over the reign of such a fragile Africa to an enemy from within? The Founding-fathers of the African integration process are shaking in their graves at this unfolding disaster…
The writings are on the walls for whoever wants to see to admit from now, right away, that this man is unfit to occupy this African position -and he will cause havoc to an already fragile continent. Only tears will result after his hurricane-like passage on the body of Africa. I make that bet right now…and I call all Africans, wherever they are to take note of this. We are entering a dark and risky tunnel: nothing good will come out of this criminal, blood tainted, chairmanship of the AU. Africa deserves better.
Adama Gaye*, a Former Editor of West Africa Magazine in London, is author of: Tomorrow, The New Africa (Editions L’Harmattan, Paris) and Hostage of a State at L’Harmattan, Paris.
In addition to covering and analyzing African issues for nearly 40 years, he wrote in 1987 an academic paper under the title; OAU, recent evolutions and outlook, at University Paris 1, Sorbonne, under the supervision of Professor Maurice Glélé, the leading francophone specialist of Africa’s regionalism.
This is an Open-Letter to Africans written by Adama Gay, a Senegalese and former ECOWAS Director of Information who is now living in exile