- Senegal's newly re-elected President, Abdoulaye Wade, has declared a judicial war on some opposition figures that had challenged him at the polls, accusing them of engaging in official graft. He also announced his discontent with independent media, claiming they had tried to "undermine" him.
Mr Wade delivered the threats in his first encounter with the press in the capital, Dakar, last night. He spoke shortly after he was confirmed the winner of the 25 February Presidential polls, in which 14 candidates challenged him.
He said Senegal will renew its normal course of instituting legal actions against some politicians, three of who - Ousmane Tanor Dieng, Idrissa Seck and Moustapha Niasse - bitterly contested against Mr Wade in the polls.
Another opposition key figure, Amath Dansokho, a former Minister of Urban Planning, was indicted by President Wade for allegedly selling lands of the airport.
While accusing Mr Dieng of alleged sale of fish licences in 1992, Mr Wade claimed that Mr Niasse and Mr Seck were involved in illegal passport selling and stealing of state funds.
The Senegalese leader dispelled the widely believed notion that he is set for "witch-hunting." He said justice must continue to take its course no matter whose ox is gored.
"We are not instituting legal actions against the opposition leaders but against citizens," Mr Wade clarified, noting that he was not poking his nose into judicial functions of a country that has been enjoying democracy for a long time.
He said the legal proceedings should have taken place before the polls. But now that elections were held, time had come for the state to get back to life so that justice is adequately delivered.
President Wade accused his sacked Prime Minister, Idrissa Seck, for looting franc CFA 40 billion (euro 61 million) and deposited the stolen monies in banks in France, Switzerland, Luxemburg and America. Mr Wade appealed to officials of these countries to aid his government to recover the stolen monies.
Wade further exposed that Mr Seck had pledged by writing to restore franc CFA 7 billion (euro 10.5 million) to fund the presidential and legislative elections and spend the remaining sum in the 2012 general elections.
The Senegalese President said he had broken ranks with Mr Seck, who according to him, will not succeed him to the throne. "He will not succeed me, if he wants to. So let him use other channels," Mr Wade said, accusing Mr Seck of pedalling unfounded rumours that the Senegalese President will be succeeded by his son, Karim.
He said Mr Seck also had fed the media with lies that Karim is corrupt because he had been embezzling and mismanaging state funds.
Mr Wade, however, said he had forgiven all those who harmed him personally. "But I cannot forgive those who harmed the state."
Also of concern to Mr Wade is the rampant corruption among state officials - a menace he had pledged to crush in his campaign to win the 2000 presidential poll. He has been criticised for doing to little to halt corruption, but he claims his government's strategies to out-do the ill was incomparable to any other country in Africa.
"We are the only country in Africa where 8 treasury auditors were jailed and a former Prime Minister sued for stealing state funds," Wade said.
President Wade also spared time to hammer the local press for their regular publication of "unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours." He said the press has been bent on "destabilising" his government.
And to back his accusations, the Senegalese President showed selected titles, which all contained "negative and unfounded allegations." Many independent newspapers had focused their election coverage on criticising Mr Wade and his government.
President Wade was delighted to be trused by the electorate, despite a sea of negative media reporting.
Mr Wade also blamed the foreign media for its lack of knowledge about Senegal, which had resulted in much negative publicity. The Senegalese leader nailed the opposition for portraying Senegal as a country on the verge of revolt abroad, which was why they would find it difficult to face the Senegalese electorate again.
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