- Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has said his government would never enter into dialogue with opposition parties that refused to accept his re-election into office on 25 February last year.
President Wade defeated 14 candidates that stood against him in an election endorsed by foreign observers. But his opponents have since been crying foul, insisting that the poll was marred by "irregularities and fraud."
Rallying under a common platform - Front Siggil Sénégal’ or Save Senegal - Mr Wade's opponent do not want to allow any slightest fault from the government to pass without being challenged.
On Sunday, Front Siggil Sénégal teamed up with trade unions and civil society and began a six month nationwide consultation to exchange ideas and knowledge on what they called the "national crisis" facing every sector in the country.
Some people fear that the opposition's action is capable of being blown out of proportion and even compromise national security.
However, such claims were soon dispelled by the Coordinator of the conference, Amadou Maktar Mbow. He said the conference is neither a "subversion, nor a plot," because the "talks are open to everybody and are directed against nobody.
Ahead of the national conference, President Wade exhorted his supporters and sympathizers to not avoid participating in the program organized by "people not represented at the national assembly to discuss problems in Senegal."
Most Senegalese opposition boycotted the national assembly and senatorial polls held last year, allowing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party of President Wade overwhelming majority.
Mr Wade asked all his followers to avoid what he called "an anti-constitutional act aimed at toppling the government." The Senegalese leader was upbeat that his opponents would continue to fail in their "destabilization attempt" because his "election was a divine will."
His statement seemed to have carried weight when an influential religious leader of the popular Mouridisme sect, Serign Mohammed Barra Mbacke, at the weekend distanced himself from the forum and pledged loyalty to President Wade.
President Wade said it sounds rather "ridiculous" for the opposition to invite his government come and offer explanations for the state of affairs of the nation.
But Mr Mbow told the conference that it was a tragedy that after 50 years of independence, more than 50% of Senegalese households live below the poverty margin.
Undoubtedly, the Wade government is not interested in the outcome of the opposition-led conference, but Mbow said it can be used by any Senegalese citizen that so wishes.
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