Homecoming rally planned for Wade

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iol pic afr senegal pilitics wade AFP Senegal's former president, Abdoulaye Wade. File picture: Seyllou

Dakar -

Senegal's former president, Abdoulaye Wade, is due to return home on Wednesday after moving abroad following his election defeat, his party said, a move that comes as his son faces trial for corruption.

Wade, who held power from 2000 to 2012, spent nearly two years in France after suffering a bitter defeat to current President Macky Sall, his former prime minister turned arch-rival, in March 2012.

During Wade's absence, the country's new authorities have gone after his son Karim, accusing him of using corrupt means to amass a fortune when he was a so-called “super minister” in his father's cabinet.

Karim Wade, 45, whose wealth includes land in Dakar, a fleet of luxury cars and media and finance companies operating across Africa, is due to be tried in June.

His lawyer, Mohamed Seydou Diagne, told AFP on Monday that prosecutors have decreased their estimate of his client's allegedly ill-gotten fortune from 800 billion CFA francs (1.2 billion euros) to 117 billion CFA francs (178 million euros).

Wade, who has been living in the French town of Versailles, has scrapped several planned homecomings in the past. But a spokesman for his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) told AFP on Monday that “this time, it's confirmed: he will arrive early in the afternoon (Wednesday) in Dakar”.

The PDS is planning a welcome rally to greet its leader at the airport, followed by a march, local media said.

In an interview on Monday with French daily Le Monde, Wade said his successor's government was waging a “witch hunt” against him and his allies.

“Macky Sall has used the idea of battling corruption to fight Karim, to convict him, to take away his civil rights so he won't stand in 2017” at the next presidential polls, said Wade, 87.

“If my son Karim ends up in prison, it's because he (Sall) saw in him the only rival capable of taking him on.”

Wade said he did not plan to seek office again himself, but would remain involved in politics. - Sapa-AFP



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