By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Senegal’s embattled opposition leader, Ousman Sonko who spearheads PASTEF has been detained and his party dissolved after he was arrested for allegedly grabbing the phone of a Gendarmerie on Friday 28th July 2023. The PASTEF Leader posted a photo of Security Officers within his compound with a statement highlighting that “the general intelligence agents stationed outside my home 24 hours a day started filming me”. Sonko added that he “personally snatched the phone and asked the person to unlock it and delete the images they took, which they refused”.
De retour de la prière du vendredi, les agents des renseignements généraux postés devant mon domicile 24h sur 24 se sont mis à me filmer.
J’ai personnellement arraché le téléphone et demandé à la personne de le déverrouiller et d’effacer les images qu’elle a prises, ce qu’elle… pic.twitter.com/VSokXCRruj
— Ousmane Sonko (@SonkoOfficiel) July 28, 2023
A few days later Senegal’s Ministry of Interior issued a statement announcing the “dissolution of the political party called “Patriots of Senegal for Labour, Ethics and Fraternity” (PASTEF)” highlighting that “the PASTEF political party is dissolved by Decree No. 2023-1407 of July 31st July 2023”. In addition, the statement claims that “the assets of the dissolved party will be liquidated in accordance with the legal and regulatory provisions in force”.
It can be recalled that Ousman Sonko was found guilty for corruption of the youth earlier in June 2023 after initial charges of rape were dismissed by the courts. Now the PASTEF Leader is being arraigned in court for theft of a phone and calling for insurrection.
Face à tant de haine, de mensonges, d’oppression, de persécution, j’ai décidé de résister.
J’observe à compter de ce dimanche une grève de la faim. J’invite tous les détenus politiques à en faire de même.
J’appelle une fois encore le peuple à rester debout et à résister au…
— Ousmane Sonko (@SonkoOfficiel) July 30, 2023
After his arrest on Friday, Ousman Sonko’s Twitter handle @SonkoOfficiel tweeted the following on Sunday 30th July 2023: “Faced with so much hatred, lies, oppression, persecution, I decided to resist. I observe from this Sunday a hunger strike. I invite all political detainees to do the same. I call once again on the people to stand up and resist the conspiracy against the project and the oppression. This is certainly not the time to falter because victory has never been so close”.
The latest statement issued on 31st July 2023 by Senegal’s Ministry of Interior notes that “the PASTEF political party, through its leaders and bodies, has frequently called on its supporters to insurrectionary movements. Which has led to serious consequences, including many loss of life, many wounded, as well as acts of looting of public and private property”. The statement adds that “the latest are the serious disturbances to public order recorded during the first week of June 2023, after those of March 2021”.
Sonko’s statement was issued on Friday 28th July 2023 alleging that the security officers in his compound watching him in front of his home seem to want to break down his door. He added that they were the same officers who stole his four cell phones, a MacBook Pro computer, a suitcase containing clothes and the sum of two million CFA francs during his kidnapping in Koungheul.
Sonko’s statement concluded with a call for “people to stand ready to face this endless abuse”.
After the latest arrest of Mr Sonko, the Ministry of Interior reported that two people have died after protests erupted in reaction to Mr Sonko’s arrest.