Dakar (Globe Afrique) – The Supreme Court of Senegal has rejected bail for Dakar’s popular mayor on Thursday, stopping him from campaigning in upcoming legislative elections. The incidences are likely to spark increasing tensions with supporters of his rival, President Macky Sall.
Mayor Khalifa Sall (no relation) was arrested more than five months ago on corruption charges. As the legal process continues, he has been denied bail even though he is at the top of a list of opposition coalition candidates vying for 165 seats in the upcoming July 30 vote.
His lawyer told international media group that the mayor was being “deprived of his political right to solicit votes from fellow citizens” as well as “his own right to vote” after the Supreme Court decision, which upholds the ruling of the appeal court.
Mayor Sall was viewed as a strong contender for the presidency before his arrest over the alleged misappropriation of 1.83 billion CFA francs ($2.85 million, 2.7 million euros) in city funds.
His supporters say the timing of the allegations is designed to weaken his chances of forging ahead against his arch-rival, President Macky Sall.
Armed with knives, rival supporters of President Sall and Mayor Sall clashed in northern Dakar on Friday, injuring several people. Also, in April thousands protested the opposition candidate’s ongoing detention and called on the international community to intervene.
Senegal is widely seen as one of Africa’s most stable democracies.
The mayor has not exhausted his appeals in the case and another bail request is pending before a Senegalese court.
In a letter written from jail this month, and denies all charges, the opposition candidate said he would accept “neither resignation nor the silence that the powers that be would reduce me to.”