The son still rises

On the same day that the leader of the National Assembly, Macky Sall, was voted out of office, a rash of graffiti appeared around Dakar — just three cryptic letters: PPK.

Fortunately, one sprayer had had the time, or the couilles, to write out the meaning: Pourquoi pas Karim (why not Karim).

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The Karim is President Wade’s son, currently head of the planning organization of the Islamic Conference (ANOCI) held in Dakar last March, and reckoned by many to be the heir to his father’s position as president. Of course, this being a democracy, the president cannot simply drop his son into his shoes. No, it isn’t simple … it requires Machiavellian cunning of the highest degree.

Take the case of Macky Sall: number 2 in the president’s party, loyal promoter of presidential projects, leader of the National Assembly … and one of the best placed persons to stand at the next presidential election. Thus he became to be seen primarily as a threat to the dynastic ambitions of the Wades. When Sall dared to call Karim Wade to the National Assembly to clarify the finances of ANOCI, he triggered a chain reaction lasting 12 months that led finally to his eviction as leader of the Assembly. The ANOCI finances remain as opaque as they ever were. In contrast, the law has been changed regarding the duration of the post of leader of the Assembly from five years to one year, with retroactive force. The result was that Sall was out of office as soon as the vote was passed last Sunday.

Get that — the national law has been changed in order to put the fix on one of your most faithful party members, and merely to advance the career of your son. But yes it was done democratically, voted by the party of both Wade and Sall, the party that dominates the Assembly as a result of the boycott of the legislative elections by opposition parties last year …

I can’t help marvelling at the mix of cunning and tragedy in this affair: for cunning, Wade could write a new chapter in Machiavelli’s The Prince; tragedy in that there is a sense of an inevitable convergence of chickens coming home to roost, some time soon.

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P.S. As an editor, I was struck by the lack of a question mark after, “Pourquoi pas Karim”. Then I realized that it was not a question, but rather a defiant assertion. I’m curious to see if there will be a reaction in graffiti.

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