A town, a country, sick to the backteeth of this…


This revolution will most definitely not be televised….

…because televisions don’t work if there is isn’t any bloody electricity.

Alright, let’s review.

Today – woke up: no current, 4 hours and counting

Yesterday – twice, three times, first time for 3 hours, then two hours, then half an hour

Thursday – came in from town – it was off, had been for hours the neighbours said

Tuesday – 4 hours, at least

And last Sunday, for seven hours


…the owner of the pharmacy down the road must rush – yet again! – to get his generator going, otherwise he can throw his expensive stock of medicines in the bin

…people everywhere will worry how long this one will last or they may have  to throw out expensive food – yet again

…in the house, in the shops and everywhere it’s back to expensive battery lamps – yet again

…my friend who tries to keep his restaurant going must make sure – yet again – that his meat does not rot, his internet connection does not bomb and he will have to apologise – yet again – for the beers not being very cold… (meanwhile, his fuel bill is €300 a month and is there anyone to reimburse them? Is there f***)

…the launderette must turn away its customers yet again because they cannot work…

Right, class, today’s lesson. How do you to destroy an economy? Simple! Kill its electricity supply.

People assure me that this is the worst ever. Worse, there is absolutely no let-up in sight, in spite of what the Royal Family and its Party say. Senelec, the electricity utility is up to its neck in debts, there is no new money coming in, the mechanics are trying their damnedest to keep the old machinery going and are in fact covering up for the unspeakably bad management of their politically connected directors. And just yesterday, the folks in Ouakam (not exactly the most unprivileged part of town) went on the rampage, throwing stones at the utility’s office – and a house reportedly belonging to the Royal Family. Yoff, not exactly dirt poor either, could be next. It’s happened before.

But take a look at Guediawaye and Pikine, two massive suburbs with up to a million really poor people. You can smell the riots. There, people go without current for days. You read that right – days. So you have just put your family supplies in your old rickety fridge and off it goes – and off goes your food. You have not got the money to replace it. Cook it by candlelight, is all you can do. And hope that when they put it back on they don’t blow your fuses out like they did last time.

Tell you what. I’m seriously inconvenienced by this permanent annoyance (can’t work, no internet, no coffee) but my problems are absolutely dwarfed by those who live on a euro a day and are still facing the indignity of getting invoices from an electricity company that does not deliver. I’d be out on the streets too.

It is beyond a scandal and everyone is beyond fed up. And it’s been said before : it takes a special talent to really annoy the Senegalese. But I think I’m not remiss to say that what we have here could well be the makings of the first public uprising caused by electricity shortages. At least to my knowledge. You cannot piss people off so much for so long without consequence. And you certainly cannot take the piss out of people for such a long time. 2012 is around the corner and there will be something that starts with e-l-e-c-t but does not end in –tricity… Don’t even think about a computerised voting system – but do bring a torch to the polling booth.

So I predict a riot and a very hot election. You read it here. A round of (probably warm) beers when I get it wrong.

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