By Dida Halake
In my favourite movie of all time, The Godfather, the aging Don Corleone anoints his son Michael as his successor. Senegal’s former President Wade also anointed his son Karim as his successor. Both succession attempts turned out to be bloody – but it is only the Godfather’s son who succeeds in becoming the Don. President Wade’s son loses and ends up in jail. And so the beyond-aged Don Wade has returned to Senegal from France this week – for one last fight to save his son.
And there is one more parallel. In both Don Corleone’s case and President Wade’s case, the family’s booty (as in money!) depends on the installation of the son as the father’s successor. So Don Wade has returned, not just to fight for his son, but also to fight for the family’s millions stashed away in secret European bank accounts. For if the imprisoned Karim is found guilty of robbing the nation and ordered to pay back the money by a Senegalese Court, the European governments will sequestrate his hidden wealth and repatriate it back to the poor people of Senegal.
And so, the wily Old Papa has returned to fight – to save his son and the family’s gold. And what weapon does the Old Papa have to wage war against the Senegalese Government? Well, Old Papa’s weapon will be the poor people of Senegal themselves! Old Papa will convince them, the poor people that is, that the jailing and trial of Karim, the poor people’s beloved former “Minister of Earth & Sky”, is nothing more than “a political witch-hunting” by the new government of President Macky Sall (of course, this being Senegambia, Karim being light-skinned does matter too – we don’t jail light-skinned people in Senegambia because we love the light skinned so much – mama mia! I just wanna touch Karim’s light skin and die, aaaaahhhhh!).
Old Papa has charisma – those old features set into a perpetual sneer by old age and arrogance is quite captivating on the impressionable young (just look at the equally beyond-aged Comrade Mugabe sneer in his speeches – we all love him!). Wade too, like Comrade Bob, can give one hell of a speech to sway the rabble. Like Brutus and Mark Anthony after the slaying of Julius Caesar, Old Papa will fire up the Dakar crowd and threaten to drive President Macky Sall from State House come the 2017 elections. “Macky is no match for me”, muses Old Papa, “afterall, he too was my boy, I made him”.
Old Papa’s calculation is that the first well-attended gathering of the Party’s rabble (almost all of them starving black faces) will frighten Macky Sall into making a deal to free Old Papa’s precious light-skinned Karim and drop the charges. Is Old Papa right? Watch this space!