Senegalese President Macky Sall has in a friendly gesture granted pardon to his ardent political opponent Khalifa Sall.
The former mayor of Dakar was arrested in March 2017 for allegedly embezzling 1.8 billion CFA francs ($3 million) in public funds. He was sentenced to five years in jail last year by a Senegalese court.
A statement from the presidency pardoned Khalifa and two other convicts, but lawyers for the former mayor says the pardon is a salutary decision since “he was arbitrarily imprisoned, but the fight is not over. We want an amnesty.”
Since independence from France in 1960, Senegal has undergone four successful changes of government, and is increasingly seen as a model of democracy in the West African sub-region. However, president Macky Sall’s treatment of his main political rival is raising questions about his commitment to the country’s democratic project.
The pardon is expected to calm tensions and restore the cordial relations between the two main political contenders and their parties.
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