The Gambia’s opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has condemned Senegal President Macky Sall’s postponement of the country’s presidential election, describing it as “backsliding the democratic gains” of the subregion.

Sall on Saturday (Feb 3) dramatically announced the postponement of the February 25 presidential poll to August citing corruption within the country’s electoral body. 

However, his announcement has been met with condemnation among the Senegalese opposition and civil rights activists, sparking demonstration in the capital, Dakar.

The UDP has expressed its concerns in a statement signed by the party’s senior administrative secretary, media and communication, Tombong Saidy. 

The party said it views with “great concern President Macky Sall’s announcement of the postponement of the presidential elections scheduled for 25th February 2024 at the eleventh hour on 3rd February 2024.

“UDP firmly believes that given the historical ties between The Gambia and Senegal, any major upheaval in Senegal will have ramifications for the Gambia and the sub-region. Considering President Macky Sall’s seminal work in the restoration of democracy in the Gambia in 2017 following the defeat of Yahya Jammeh in December of 2016  and his successive  Chairmanship of ECOWAS and the African Union portrays him as a great champion of democracy in Africa in general and the West Africa subregion in particular. 

“For these reasons, UDP regards President Sall’s Statement of 3rd February 2024 as a significant backsliding on the democratic gains the subregion has registered since the early 1990s.

“Therefore, UDP respectfully urges President Sall to reconsider his decision and to be mindful of his legacy as a democratic leader in Africa.”  

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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