Senegal's President Tells CBN He Deserves Another Term

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The political climate in Senegal is usually quiet and peaceful, but now the West African country, the oldest and most established democracy in the region, is facing an uncertain future.

Protestors and opposition forces say they will turn out in force to render the nation ungovernable if 85-year-old President Abdoulaye Wade doesn't step aside.

He has served two terms and wants a third one, but the opposition says the constitution limits the president to two terms. Wade insists the constitutional term limit applies only to those who become president after him.

The United States government has told Wade he needs to hand power over to the next generation of Senegalese.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnny Carson and former Nigerian President Olusegan Obasanjo have joined election observers in Dakar for Sunday's presidential election. But will the election proceed unhindered?

Wade recently met with CBN President Michael Little and explained that he has led a peaceful democracy, a model of Islamic moderation.

"Muslims here are 95 percent, but we have never a problem," he said. "A Muslim doesn't mind to see others go to the church and the Christians do not mind if the Muslim goes to the mosque."

Wade added that his country enjoys good relations with its neighbors. He suggested his commitment to Muslim moderation has positioned him well to serve as mediator in Nigeria's Muslim-Christian dispute.

Hundreds of innocent Nigerians have been killed in attacks by Islamic terrorists this year. President Wade proposes that peace talks be held in Senegal.

"I will propose they come here, we will try to adopt, write and adopt a charter, a charter on the problem of tolerance," Wade explained. "That means accepting the other to believe in another god and to practice their religion."

But if President Wade's peace proposal has any chance of advancing, he must first win re-election.

Despite the violence, he predicts he will have no problem winning in the initial round of voting set for Feb. 26.

*Originally aired February 24, 2012.

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CBN News
Gary Lane

Gary Lane

CBN News Sr. International Correspondent

CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming by cable, satellite, and the Internet, 24-hours a day. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.