Abolish Senegal Senate to fund flood relief, says Sall

 
A woman with a baby on her back wades through water after overnight flooding on a street in Senegal's capital Dakar, August 14, 2012 Floods affect the suburbs of Senegal's capital Dakar every year

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Senegal's President Macky Sall has called for the country's Senate to be abolished, with the money saved going to pay for flood relief.

He had cut short a visit to South Africa to deal with the severe floods, which have claimed at least 13 lives.

Speaking at Dakar's airport, he said he would introduce an emergency bill to abolish the upper house.

The money reserved for the Senate, more than 12m euros (£9.5m; $15m), would go towards preventing further flooding.

"Closing the Senate comes as a result of the urgent and crucial need to find substantial funds to deal with all the issues generated by the flooding," the president's spokesman, El Hadj Kasse, explained.

Although the low-lying suburbs of the capital, Dakar, flood during most rainy seasons, this year has seen exceptionally high rainfall across West Africa. It is estimated that thousands of people have been left homeless.

Residents were reported to have taken to the streets of the capital to denounce the government for failing to act faster and were dispersed with tear gas.

'Popular move'

The BBC's Thomas Fessy in Dakar says the announcement comes only two weeks ahead of the elections for the upper house.

The emergency bill will be presented to MPs of the lower house, the National Assembly, and is likely to be passed by a majority, he says.

President Sall acknowledged the importance of the Senate in a democratic system, but said "the relief of the suffering of the people is more important than the Senate, for us to stop the floods that cyclically affect our country", the Spanish news agency Efe reported.

In May, the World Bank pledged $55.6m to help Senegal improve its flood defences and storm water management, particularly in Dakar's suburbs.

Our correspondent says in a country where most people often complain that senators do too little for the state's affairs, this is likely to give President Sall a boost in popularity.

Since coming to power in March he has faced criticism for concentrating on an investigation into alleged corrupt officials in the previous government, instead of on rising food prices and ending power cuts, our reporter says.

The floods have only worsened the mood, with some accusing the government of "being on holiday" as many ministers have been on leave during the crisis.

Senegal has been typically held up as an example of a successful African democracy, with an established multi-party system and division of power.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    Re 16: So, just the usual clap-trap then? The usual tired old lies and half-truths, with just a hint of racism.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 19.

    Mr Sall, can you please get a Nigerian citizenship asap and contest for the presidency there with the promise of scrapping the senate? On this promise, you are bound to win a landslide victory as we are all tired of a bloated senate that could as well be called a house of elected leeches.
    Go on Mr Sall!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    Where is the emergency funds ?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 17.

    I thought the legislative bodies such as the house and the senate were established by Senegalese Constitution? While it may sound good to eliminate the senate and divert the savings to flood rescue and prevention, the question is how much sacrifice is the office of the president is willing to make in its own budget?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 16.

    just remember british aid is peanuts, stays with british charity and has foreign policy strings attached its not charity but bribes , and africa pays far more to the west in debt intrest

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    This is a reasonable & responsible decision ever made so far by any of Senegal Head of State...
    Macky Sall@Social Democrat

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 14.

    I would LOVE IT if they got rid of the Senate in the USA! :)
    Just kidding. (sort of...)

    In all seriousness: I fail to see how this was a reasonable action on the part of the president. Surely there was some other source of government spending that could have been redistributed?

    Or at least he could have ordered the Senate to temporarily work without pay, instead of shutting them down?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    The President for life calls for the safety valve to be abolished 'for the people'... yeah, where've we heard that before?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    And for the next disaster, they'll abolish the lower house to save money. Then for the next, they'll close all hospitals to save money. Then...

    Where is Sir Humphrey when you need him?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 11.

    When there is no upper legislation in a country,there means there is no more democratic rule,the president will either cut their salaries or seek for a loan from the world bank or IMF to cope with the menace of the flood in senegal instead of shutting down the senate.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    Most African politicians are 'bigmen' riding on the backs of the ordinary citizen. Politicians in Africa live like Lords, the pple they are meant to serve die of hunger, poverty, illiteracy & ignorance. The fastest way to become wealthy in Africa is to gain high political office. No surprise that corruption is so widespread. Pay teachers, civil servants, police more.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    If Senegalese politicians (including senators) could not plan for & mitigate against effects of flooding on their people, then the president is right to suggest that senate be abolished & £7m annual senate wage bill be spent on flood prevention & welfare of the people.
    Nigeria take note. Only caveat replace senators with less expensive reps serving the people.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    Large, unexpected swings in food prices endanger food security of poor households in developing countries, who spend as much as 70% of their incomes on food. Agricultural subsidies in rich countries limit agricultural growth in developing countries, leaving them vulnerable to commodity SHOCKS. When will we address the stock-piling, speculating activity on necessities of life?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    Distributing food is not enough. Abolishing Senate is not enough (& not a good idea). National Red Cross says more funds are needed (so when next food crisis arises, people will be able to cope).
    I don't disagree with Red Cross, but what is more desperately needed is action on Commodity Exchanges that make money betting on necessities - like food - thereby artificially raising prices!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 6.

    President Macky Sall - you are far too educated to make that statement and i am refusing you did!!!!!

    You were a former president of the national assembly for crying out loud!!!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    4. Policeticks

    It is only natural for people to compare changes in other countries with their own. What's wrong with that? Furthermore I consider your views to narrow-minded and somewhat racist too. Are you suggesting that the previous 3 opinions have all been made by white people? Why do you think that? What evidence of this do you have or are you just making thoughtless generalisations?

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 4.

    Wow, you people never cease to amaze. You think the world revolves around just ONLY you... this thread is about Senegal, nothing has to do with the west, at all but all the replies so far are about the west. Is more to the world than just the whitemans plight, lol..wow

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 3.

    Has anybody noticed that so many of the weather events of recent years being reported are often described as 'the worst for so many years'.

    And the conclusion is ... ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    Coudln't our British parilaments be abolished and all the money for their upkeeps be given to pensioners, the disabled, and deserving people on low wages who need it? I'm sure most people here would be all for that. In fact, I'm sure most people would go for that even if the money didn't go anywhere. I mean if we got rid of politicians things could only get better and it would at least be a start.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    In terms of Senegal, this move does perhaps reflect the utter irrelevance of large parts of the existing political system, even to the people within it. That is not really an encouraging sign.
    Difficult, though, not to wonder whether getting rid of the equally irrelevant British House of Lords and putting to money towards, say, rescue of the NHS, wouldn't be a bad idea...

 

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