French diplomacy in retreat in the face of the crisis in Senegal

While ECOWAS and the United States strongly criticized Parliament’s vote to extend Macky Sall’s mandate and postpone the election from February to December, France reacted at the very least through the voice of the Quai d’Orsay. A choice of non-interference which fuels anti-French sentiment.

In the midst of controversy over the holding of the Senegalese presidential election, Paris had chosen to roll out the red carpet at the end of 2023 in Amadou Ba as part of a Franco-Senegalese government seminar. The symbol of a Senegalese Prime Minister candidate posing all smiles alongside his French counterpart Elisabeth Borne does not go unnoticed. This trip, which would have gone unnoticed outside of the pre-electoral context, was perceived as an endorsement of Amadou Ba or even French interference.

Amadou Ba received with great fanfare
Amadou Ba received with great fanfare. The theses of dubbing and interference are all the more convincing given that French President Emmanuel Macron had appointed his Senegalese counterpart Macky in November 2023, even though he has not yet left office , special envoy for the Paris Pact on People and the Planet (4P). The Senegalese opponent Habib Sy of the “Hope and Modernity” party did not go out of his way to “castigate a France which still understands nothing” about the subtleties of the political life of its former African colonies. Even if we can consider that Paris has not measured the confusion between the agendas of Amadou Ba Prime Minister and Amadou Ba presidential candidate, the reception with great fanfare of the latter in Paris in the current context in Senegal was a move that is at the very least imprudent.

This posture is, in any case, proof that Paris has not learned the lessons of the political violence which shook Senegal in March 2021 and June 2023. Ten of the fourteen stores of the French group Auchan had, at that time, been looted in Dakar by rioters who also attacked Total service stations and Orange stores.

Emmanuel Macron’s France, by receiving so warmly the designated but not very charismatic heir apparent, Amadou Ba, will have made an additional error in Africa.

This article is originally published on mondafrique.com

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