LE MONDE Wikileaks: corruption and divisions in Dakar
| 09.12.10 | 10:34 p.m. • Updated 09.12.10 | 10:37 p.m.
Even if Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade is “a good partner, open to the interests of the United States” , Americans have little confidence in the country’s leaders. How to continue to financially assist a friendly country, poor but unreliable? How to support the Senegalese who “have lost hope in the face of mass unemployment” without also helping “Wade and his entourage, [who are] immersed in financial scandals” ?
The question serves as [the] thread American diplomatic telegrams obtained by Wikileaks revealed by Le Monde . Reads the new challenge faced by the Western powers in their aid policy to Africa: they submit their funding requirements of good management, while Africans have new “friends” like the Chinese, much less fussy .
During a long head-to-face reported by a telegram dated February 18, 2010, Marcia Bernicat , the U.S. ambassador to Senegal, is trying to persuade President Wade, 84, of the need to take action against corruption. “The perception that corruption is prevalent today has become the [Senegal] a reality that can not be fought only by concrete actions ” , the diplomat warned. Face it, President Wade repeated that “no case of corruption has recently been brought to justice” .
After years of denial because of financial secrecy, the U.S. has finally given in September 2009 in Senegal a loan of $ 540 million over five years under the “Millennium Challenge Corporation, an assistance program development subject to strict conditions.
With this leverage, the ambassador came to lobby. She tried to coax the caller into making her gift with a photograph of Hillary Clinton , autographed by the hand of Secretary of State. But his message is clear: “Senegal could lose” this funding if corruption indicators worsened.
Worried, Wade “application abruptly insurance” , highlighting the need to help the “poorest” . Finally, after “a chuckle” , recognizes the need for action against corruption.
The ambassador seems hardly convinced. The president, she predicts, “will squeeze between the measures and the continuation of the authorization given to those who are used to serve in the government coffers, to do to ensure their loyalty remains intact” . And she adds: “The striking similarities between father and son in this field show that both continue to underestimate the importance of this issue for donors and, increasingly, to the voters.”
Senegal is described as a “weak democracy” dominated by Abdoulaye and Karim Wade . The father and son, say the memos are more focused on “open the way for a dynastic succession presidential” and pull the strings of “Machiavellian world of Senegalese politics” to “address the urgent problems” that are “high prices of basic commodities, frequent power outages or dangerous youth emigration to Spain” .
Over the memo appears the old obsession with the Senegalese president: “He wants to win the Nobel Prize and has repeatedly called on President Sarkozy to seek his support,” according to two French diplomats. But also a less brilliant reality: “Wade was stolen 52 million CFA francs (79,273 euros) in his Paris apartment by a member of his entourage” , is it also reported in November 2009.
One of its flagship projects, the hundred kindergartens named “boxes for toddlers” is an “empty shell” , says a memo: “The sites are either closed or being used at many other purposes” .
“As usual, finds another memo in May 2009, after a cabinet reshuffle, there are too many ministers (…) that do nothing. ” Overall, Americans believe in late 2009 that “President Wade is in a difficult political situation because of its great age of the rejection of his son by the Senegalese (…) ” .
While the Senegalese presidential election in 2012, a French diplomat quoted a telegram from the U.S. embassy in Paris, dated February 2, 2010, Judge “credible” scenario of an early election because he believes ” Wade realizes that neither he nor Karim can not win in 2012 without a massive fraud that the country and the international community would not tolerate ” .
Karim Wade seems to interest the Americans as much as his father. They consider attractive but unpopular and take seriously its bad reputation. “Karim is now dubbed ‘Mr 15%, whereas in early 2007, it was called” Mr. 10% ” , noted mischievously the ambassador. French diplomats consulted by the Americans are not softer.
Questionable in this context, the dominant American concern for the future. Diplomats see the “deep divisions” in the presidential camp as in the opposition. They believe that “if Wade died without designating a successor” , would probably follow a “period of violent internal struggle on both sides, and a general instability in the country” .