If any African president has left himself at the whipping end of his peoples’ tongues recently, it is President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.
Senegal is a country with population hovering in the region of 12 million, 90 percent of which are Moslems. The country has a very weak and fragile economy that relies greatly on donor support. Standard of living is abysmal with a very high death rate.
Food, energy, housing and other basic social amenities are accessed by a privileged few.
In the face of abject poverty and hardship, the 83-year old Sunni Moslem President, Abdoulaye Wade did the unthinkable.
To commemorate their 50th independence anniversary, President Wade used a whooping sum of 20million dollars of tax payer’s money to construction of a gigantic bronze statue far taller than the Statue of liberty.
More irritating is the insulting nature of the statue. The statue depicts a half naked woman with her breast partially exposed being pulled by a half naked monstrous man holding a baby in the other hand.
This indeed does not represent a typical Senegalese Islamic family. Clearly, Islam abhors and frowns on married women exposing their vital parts to the public. In a country where 90 percent of the inhabitants are Moslems, this of course is an affront and a slap in the face of their religion and belief. The statue clearly depicts a western culture more than an Islamic set up.
President wade’s persecution was ratcheted up even more considering the amount involved in the building of such a “sexist” statue. In Senegal, 20million dollars could help build permanent structures for more than twenty secondary schools in Saint Louis province alone.
Funny enough, the statue according to the president is meant to attract investors into the country (debatable) and serve as a tourist attraction which may earn the country some income.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the announcement by President Wade that,35 percent of the revenue that would be generated from the sexist statue should be wired to his personal account since he mooted the idea for its building. Infact my appetite took a flight and I became very red about the level of greed and insensitivity of President Wade to the plight of Senegalese, their religion and values.
Firstly, the message the statue seeks to send defames and denigrates the moral values of Moslem women. Secondly, the posture of the man pulling the woman and holding the baby with one hand demonstrates a violent man.
Thirdly, the amount used is unbelievable. The president seems to be on a different radar from the people to have used 20million dollars of taxpayer’s money to build such an insulting statue.
Finally, it is incomprehensible how the president could demand for 35 percent of the revenue that would be bagged from the sexist tourist attraction for the mere fact that, the idea was he’s. (That’s if it is factual).
My heart bleeds for the younger generations in Senegal.
Just by the way, did you hear of the expenditure of Mr. Jacob Zumah and his wife? What about President Yuweri Museveni of Uganda? It is alleged that 50 percent of his cabinet members are his close relatives. Infact his wife, the first lady is a regional Minister. Shocked? Look out for more on him from me.
God bless us all
By Cecil Nunya Akumey Affizie
Member, Committee of Concerned Journalists