Abdoulaye Wade is back – two years after losing Senegal’s presidency and leaving for France.
Well-wishers in Dakar gave a rapturous reception to the 87-year-old who looks to have returned to the West African country for personal and political reasons.
Firstly, he is standing by his son, and former minister, Karim, who is in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges that supporters say are politically motivated.
What is more, political ambitions for himself or his son are suggested in comments made after Wade’s arrival.
“What pushed me to come most is that I heard the Senegalese people crying,” he said.
“They have nothing left.”
In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde thisweek, the longtime leader accused his successor Macky Sall of organising a witch-hunt against Karim in an effort to eliminate him as an opponent for 2017 elections.
On Wednesday, people who had gathered to greet Wade, who was president for 12 years, clashed with security forces on the streets of the capital.
As it happens, he did not arrive until two days later, amid flight problems blamed by Wade’s party on the government of his successor Macky Sall.
A government spokesman denied any responsibility for the delay, saying it was linked to last-minute changes to the passenger list.