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in Matam, the campaign of Mackay Sal praised his record as a builder

Poster for Senegalese President Mackay Sal campaign in Ngor County, Dakar, February 6, 2019
Poster of the campaign of Senegalese President Mackay Sal in Ngor, Dakar, February 6, 2019. Mateo Mayer

Kilometers asphalt and we only see it. Look at ordinary glasses and a sure smile. "Senegal for All, Vote for President Mackey"From the Dakar to the suburbs every twenty meters show posters. "It takes all space", a plague taxi driver. At the roundabout, a village tent sports the creamy-brown colors of the Alliance Party for the Republic of Mackay Sal (APR). Young extremists spread brochures in congestion, and the loudspeaker spreads Youssou Nour's song for the senegalese president's glory: "I want to live, to stay free, I want to fly, to heaven",

Elected in 2012 against Abdullah Wade, the outgoing head of state will be a candidate for re-election of the presidential election, which will be held on February 24th. He will face four contenders: the nationalist, Usamane Sonko (Pastef), the religious Isa Sal (ROC), and former rivals of the opposition parties, Idrisa Shek (Revy), and Madické2019.

Slow political return

The outgoing has on them a step forward that he intends to play: a builder's record. For seven years, Mackay Sal has built an international airport, a museum of black civilizations, two stadiums, a transnational bridge, and solar power plants. Two weeks before the election, the presidential candidate multiplies discoveries and travels to the country to defend his achievements. , being careful not to bypass the forgotten spaces of the territory.

It is not midday on February 6, the sun is already pushing the shadows. The presidential procession is immersed in scorched shrubs covered with acacia. Point out the far east of the country and the small town of Matam, flooded along the Senegal River, on the border of Mauritania. Mackay Sal plans to hold a meeting at a large stadium on this land of Futa, which has seen his parents grow up and remains the stronghold of his biggest supporters.

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This is largely the fact that man has built his political ascent. Prime Minister Abdullah Wade from 2004 to 2007, the then president of the National Assembly, was removed from office in 2008 because he dared to summon President Carim Wade's son in case of financial abuse. He leaves the Senegalese Democratic Party (DPS). Twenty years of political life with his mentor have been erased. He then comes to relax with his family before embarking on a slow political recovery that has led him to create his own liberal formation – APR in 2008.

"It works for the common interest"

Mackay Sal takes off at "Long Walk" 80,000 km to secure its new party in all regions of Senegal. "It was not an ideological program, but the absolute necessity of leaving the cities to explore the farthest corners of the country. (…). Where electricity did not exist, and water – a manna that was wanted as distant he reveals in his biography Senegal in the heart (Le Cherche Midi, 2018).

In contact with the rural population, it defines three priorities: access to water, electricity and passable roads. The process is paid. He won the first place in the local elections in 2009 and three years later defeated Abdullah Wade, his mentor, who became rival to the presidential election. "For my friends, the election will be played in the big cities (…). I told them we had forgotten for a long time this rural Senegal, those people who never see anyone who does not know the shadow of a civil servant. " "he says in his memoirs.

The Minaret of the Great Mosque in the village of Ndouloumadji Founbe, funded by Senegalese President Macky Sall, on February 6, 2019
The minarets of the Great Mosque in the village of Ndouloumadji Founbe, funded by Senegalese President Macky Sall, on February 6, 2019. Matteo Maillard

Today in Ndouloumadji Founbe, the native village of Amadou Abdoul Sall, the president's father, the latter is present everywhere. Besides the mosque and the road, he built a school and drilling. "He is a person who works for the common interest and is not afraid of anyone." assures Jibe Sal, his 81-year-old uncle. The village of 2500 inhabitants, built of earthly houses, bricks and forests, is almost deserted. – Everybody went to the meeting! And I will soon join them. " exclaims Ibrahima Lah, the head of the neighborhood, had at home a dozen photos of the child in the country, adjacent to Obama's or religious leaders.

The place still has a political opponent or rather repented. Abu Li, 45, who turned away "Big Brother" after 2012. In his eyes, "He did nothing for the region, Youth unemployment has increased, it has not developed the land and there is no place for school ",

Welcome to the prodigal son

While the trucks of activists come to attend the meeting, a group of young people watch the ballet, leaning on their scooter. from "Jakarta" the name of their motor tax, earning less than 5,000 CFAs a day (7,60 euros). "This is either this or the field, Bokar's balance sheet, 21 years old. At least on the bike we have no hands in the ground, and our backs are broken like our parents. " They belong to the offspring "Barca or Barça" (Barcelona or Death) and many of their friends have already chosen to leave "Laughing Life" taking a canoe for Europe.

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Closed, Matam is one of the poorest regions of Senegal, which is regularly suffering from hunger, drought affecting crops. The employment rate does not exceed 37%. " People do not get tired of farming because the unemployed youths migrate and then return the money to the family that is left here.– says Ndao, a small retiree. So the area is "The Second Home of Senegalese Migrants"according to the International Organization for Migration.

– I do not like Maki Sal. He does nothing for us ", Bachir piece, 34 years old, captain of the band "Jakarta". He also eliminates all his rivals such as Karim Wade and Khalifa Sal [le fils de l’ex-président Abdoulaye Wade et l’ancien maire de Dakar n’ont pas été autorisés à se présenter à la présidentielle en raison d’ennuis judiciaires]I only knew them so I will not vote. "

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At Matam Stadium, thousands of sympathizers, bearing the colors of the ATP, came from all the villages to meet the prodigal son. From the platform, Mackay Sal pursues his followers. "I am the adopted son of all the towns and villages of the country" He started. "As soon as I am re-elected, I will start building a 300km road!" I will build an airport in 2020 and build 30,000 hectares of land in Matam and Kanel. " he promises before leaving the shouting sirens at another rally.

Mateo Mair (Dakar, correspondence)

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