Pencum WARC panel: Dialogue Politique Inter-générationnel: Regards Croisés sur les Pratiques Politiques au Sénégal


The West African Research Center (WARC) can be cited among the fora which contribute the most to debates and exchanges on issues challenging the african continent in almost every area: politics, culture, the arts, health issues, security and many other development-related issues. For over two decades, high-level panels and lectures have always been held at the Center under the banner of Les Grandes Conferences du WARC or WARC Lecture Series.

As a complement to the above-mentioned initiative, Pencum WARC (WARC Forum) was recently launched and its first panel held at the West African Research Center on Wednesday, September 22nd in the afternoon. Pencum WARC pledges to hold at least one major event each month at the West African Research center and even more depending on local and global developments.

As the title indicates, the panel was meant to cast an interrogating and analyzing gaze on political practices in Senegal and the rest of the continent from independence to this day.

Panelist Ousmane Blondin Diop, a sociologist and retired Unesco official was an active member of the ruling Socialist Party (under President Senghor and President Diouf) and he clearly demonstrated that current practices are rather different from those prevailing in those years. Money was not necessarily the weapon needed to win election. Party members, even in the most remote villages, were regularly trained to better grasp political goals and objectives, development issues etc…..

For Haddy Ba, a philosophy faculty at University Cheikh Anta Diop, present-day politicians do not have a full grasp of the difference between ideology and dogma, which may lead to the dangerous path of intolerance and violence. For Haddy Ba, adhesion without a well-thought and understood ideology inevitably leads to violence as well as the dogmatic stance and lack of objectivity currently noted in the senegalese political arena.

For Ousmane Khouma (Political Science at UCAD), democracy entails permanent concertation and dialogue between those in power and the opposition. Rules and regulations presiding over the democratic political process should be adhered to by all actors and legality always considered as the key factor for legitimacy.

Amy Sarr Fall, the Director General of the Dakar-based Intelligences Magazine aptly made developments on the expectations and involvement of the younger generations in the political process. For her, ignoring this can be very detrimental because you cannot have the backing of those young people counting for 60 per cent of the population unless you allow them to be actively involved. She also emphasized the role played by the social networks widely available to younger people as a source of information and education but also a powerful tool for dialogue and exchange of ideas.

The panel was chaired by Penda Mbow, a well-known historian, activist and fine analyst and thinker recognized worldwide, and attended by 55 people.