SENEGAL’S YOUTH MOVEMENT TAKE ON PRESIDENT WADE
By Paul Ndiho, Washington DC
June 20, 2011
Ahead of elections next year, there is a youth movement in Senegal which is drawing inspiration and energy from a popular hip hop group.
“Enough is enough” is spearheaded by two popular rappers from the group, Keurgi Crew, and a journalist who say they are fed up with Senegal’s current leadership. The group says that it believes the government is actively seeking to discourage young people from voting in the country’s elections early next year. One of their slogans is “My card is my weapon”:
“We thought it was time to find a voluntary popular movement for the citizens that above all have had enough, in which people who are fed-up with everything that has happened here for the last 50 years, with this system, can come together, get involved and find the cure needed to improve their lives.”
Using a mix of concerts, demonstrations and civic education, the group says it is fighting to prevent the exclusion of Senegal’s burgeoning youth from February’s presidential election.
Barro says ahead of the poll, the group will analyze potential candidates and, perhaps endorse one, but not the incumbent, octogenarian Abdoulaye Wade, whom they say must not be allowed a third term in power.
“Enough is enough will not vote for one man, enough is enough will put together a program and after the elections, will oversee the implementation of this program. The candidate who would have been elected based on our criteria, enough will supervise and will make sure the program for which he (the candidate) was elected will be fully implemented.”
Analysts say that the movement could have a great influence in Senegal’s upcoming vote. Keurgi Crew draw thousands of people to concerts to spread their message about the power of the vote:
“It is true that there is a cocktail that can explode anytime and ”enough is enough” understands this and has tried from the very beginning to turn those frustrations, those negative energies that can blow off and set ablaze the whole country. “enough is enough” is trying to take all the negatives energies and turn them into positive energy by telling people: ” Your weapon is your voting card.”
Some members of “Enough is Enough” were arrested in March this year as they called for protests which gathered some 5000 people.
February’s vote will take place amid simmering social tension. Daily power cuts, a high cost of living, and rocketing youth unemployment clash with grandiose government projects, such as a 28 million dollar statue of President Wade unveiled last year.