Rappers give Senegalese superstar an edge in presidency bid (40472)

Jan 3 (GIN) – A fired up youth movement in Senegal may give superstar Youssou N’dour the votes needed to capture the nation’s presidency in next month’s polls.

The 52 year old performer has pledged to beat the incumbent, 86 year old Abdoulaye Wade, who shocked many by proposing to run for a third term despite a constitutional two-term limit on the job.

Rappers Omar Toure aka Thiat and Mbessane Seck aka Kilifeu have been stirring up young people with a movement called “Y’en a marre,” or “Enough is Enough” which challenges the government over corruption, the waste of national resources, urban floods and frequent power cuts.

N’dour, a world-renowned artist and Grammy-award winner, enjoys huge popularity among young people. This week he declared himself a candidate on his privately-owned radio and TV station TFM.

“For a long time, men and women have dreamt of a new Senegal. They have called for my candidacy … I listened. I heard,” he said.

N’dour owns a recording studio, record label, and the widely-circulated newspaper, L’Observateur. Long committed to social causes, he organized a concert for Nelson Mandela, performed with Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Tracy Chapman for “Human Rights Now!”, and headlined three Live 8 African benefits, among many other events.

Ndour said his platform would include initiatives for peace in the troubled southern Casamance region, good governance, agricultural and social development projects. His new political movement, “Fekke ma ci bolle”, means “I am involved.”

N’dour joins a crowded field of opposition including anti-corruption candidate Abdou Latif Coulibaly, socialist Ousmane Tanor Dieng, and “United to Boost Senegal” candidate Moustapha Niasse.