Several Senegalese organisations on Thursday urged President Macky Sall to dispel any doubts and openly declare that he would not run for his own succession in 2024, a candidacy they say could spread "chaos".
Mr. Sall, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019, has been keeping his intentions vague for months, while opinions diverge on his legitimacy to run again, and the opposition promises fierce resistance if he takes the step.
The Constitution stipulates that a president cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. But several voices are being raised in the presidential camp to defend the idea of a third term, citing the 2016 constitutional revision, which they say would reset the clock.
In a statement issued Thursday, human rights, and democracy organisations such as AfrikaJom or Raddho, associated with others, recall that elsewhere in Africa in the past the forcing for a third term has had consequences "particularly tragic", an apparent reference to precedents Guinean, Ivorian or even Senegalese. They say they want to "avoid a scenario of chaos for our country".
"To avoid such a catastrophe, the consequences of which could be even more dramatic than those of 2012, we invite you, Mr President, to make an open declaration to remove any ambiguity," they write.
"The limitation of mandates to two is unequivocal and definitively anchored in the fundamental law," they said. They refer to pass statements and commitments made verbally or in writing by Macky Sall himself.
In 2012, Abdoulaye Wade's candidacy for a third term of office provoked violence that left several people dead. The NGOs point out that Mr Sall had fought against the third mandate, a struggle in which he was the "main beneficiary".
We "solemnly invite you not to present your candidacy for the presidential election of 2024, out of respect for the word given and out of respect for the clear and unequivocal interpretation that you have always given to our Constitution," they say.
The refusal of a third mandate was one of the watchwords of the 2021 riots in Senegal in a tense social and health context.