World famous Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour says he wants to give up music for politics and will run for president of his West African nation.
Euronews spoke to him about why he has made that decision.
François Chignac, euronews: “You have just announced you will be a candidate in Senegal’s presidential election, to be held next month. Our first question is simple. Why are you entering the race so late when only a few months ago you were saying you would never be a candidate?”
“Since the start of my career I’ve spoken with this country’s leaders. Through my music I’ve spoken about its people and the situation in the country, but I don’t think they’ve listened. Plus I think I’m a Senegalese political figure anyway; I’ve realised our democracy is in danger, and I believe I offer an alternative, based on what I’ve lived, and what’s happened around me.”
euronews: “Do you really appreciate the scale of the challenge of this candidacy?”
“I can assure you I’m no adventurer. My project is a long-term one. Ask instead the authorities to do their utmost to ensure free and fair elections, and democracy will reward the best candidate. If we get a free election, I’ll win, I have no doubt. The Senegalese people are with me, we know exactly what they think and what they will do at the polls. Now it’s up to the authorities. Abdoulaye Wade is responsible. What we’ve seen up to now doesn’t reassure us, so we also want the international community to make sure we have a perfectly democratic vote.”
euronews: “What do you think of the candidature of the current president and your main rival, Abdoulaye Wade?”
“He doesn’t even have the right to stand. Our constitution bars him from a third mandate; it should rule him out of even standing! I don’t consider him a candidate, he’s trying to force the issue and I don’t think he cares if that brings trouble and destabilisation. I say it’s better to prevent than cure. The Senegalese people have demonstrated several times already that they don’t want Wade to drive a coach and horses through the constitution.”
euronews: “You made Senegal’s traditional music famous on stages around the world. Do you want to do the same for Senegal? The country hasn’t been very visible in recent years.”
“Just me standing as a candidate has drawn the eyes of the world towards Senegal, and that’s good because we want clean elections. If I win in the first round, well, we’ll be in orbit and I’ll be travelling everywhere to talk about co-operation and a new Senegal. I’ll have to ensure all our partners share our vision, a vision that is coming from the grass roots, the people of Senegal, responding to their real needs.”
“Finally, several African leaders have appeared, or are appearing, at the International Criminal Court. Has Africa obtained better governments by allowing these trials?”
“The International Criminal Court has intervened in many counties and played its role. What I find deplorable is that there’s no similar tribunal either organised by the African Union or an African country, where any citizen can be tried, no matter who they are.”