Jailed Senegal politician plans to run for president


Senegal’s jailed opposition leader and former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, plans to run for president in February 2019, he said in an email to supporters.

Sall is serving a five-year jail term for embezzling 1.8 billion CFA francs (2.47 million pounds) and falsifying documents, charges he denies and is appealing.
“Yes I am a candidate for the presidential elections on February 24, 2019,” Sall said in the letter.

It was unclear if Sall, once considered a rising political star and rival to President Macky Sall, would continue to run if his appeal fails and he remains in jail. The men are not related.

He does have loyal supporters, especially in the capital Dakar, many of who believe his arrest is politically motivated and aimed at preventing him from running in February. Government denies this.

Senegal is one of West Africa’s most stable democracies, an image reinforced by a peaceful and well organised 2012 presidential poll.

Opposition politicians say there is a growing intolerance for dissent and there is a problem with corruption, including in the country’s nascent oil and gas sector.

Karim Wade, the son of a former president served three years in prison for corruption, including hiding funds in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama.