By Enyichukwu Enemanna
A Senegalese court has ordered that jailed opposition leader Ousmane Sonko be restored on the electoral register, clearing the legal impediment for him to contest the country’s presidential election February next year.
Sonko, the presidential candidate of the African Party of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF) has faced several court cases on various charges in recent years.
In June, he was cleared of rape but convicted of “corrupting the youth” and removed from the electoral roll by the court.
While denying all allegations against him, Sonko says he is a victim of a campaign to prevent him from contesting the country’s top office.
Under the country’s constitution, a candidate must be on the voters’ roll in order to qualify to seek election.
Authorities have vowed to appeal the ruling.
His repeated arrests over the past two years have sparked deadly unrests in the country, believed to be one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.
Jubilant supporters welcomed the verdict in court, report by AFP news agency says.
He has until 26 December to register his candidacy for the election.
He’s been in custody since the end of July, when he was arrested on charges of insurrection.
The government also announced the dissolution of his PASTEF party. Popular among the youth population, Sonko contested in 2019 and came third.
President Macky Sall who has been accused of masterminding Sonko’s ordeal says he will not stand for re-election, following speculation that he would seek an unconstitutional third term.