Senegal: a court orders the reinstatement of opponent Ousmane Sonko on the electoral lists

In Senegal, it is a first victory in the legal standoff between Ousmane Sonko and the Senegalese state. Yesterday, Thursday October 12 in the evening, the judge of the administrative court of Ziguinchor – in the south of the country – canceled the removal of the opponent from the electoral lists and ordered his reinstatement on these lists, thus opening the door for him to a presidential candidacy.

It took a hearing of nearly twelve hours to reach this decision. A marathon hearing punctuated by several incidents including the attempt, at 10 p.m., by the Senegalese state’s lawyers to challenge the judge of the administrative court of Ziguinchor on the grounds that he has family ties with the deputy mayor of this city. Knowing that Ousmane Sonko was the mayor. Patiently, Judge Sabassy Faye dismantled these arguments and continued the hearing, only to find himself reading his decision by the light of a flashlight, after a sudden power cut.

Eight lawyers
Until 5 p.m., eight lawyers for Ousmane Sonko took the stand to explain why the removal of their client from the electoral lists was illegitimate, according to them. Their main argument: Ousmane Sonko was tried in absentia, then arrested. This arrest requires a new trial to be held, according to them. In the meantime, the original conviction is overturned and the person’s civil rights restored.

Ten days
After listening to all parties the judge finally concluded that Ousmane Sonko should not have been removed and should be re-registered on the electoral lists. A decision which should allow him to recover the famous sponsorship collection forms, an essential step in being able to be a presidential candidate. But for the country’s number one opponent, nothing has yet been won: the Senegalese state has ten days to lodge an appeal. It would then be up to the Supreme Court to examine the request for reinstatement of Ousmane Sonko on the electoral lists.

Source: Radio France Internationale