In the Spring of 2011, Senegal was pitched into crisis when President Abdoulaye Wade decided to change the constitution to allow for a third term. An artist-led youth movement erupted to protect one of Africa’s oldest and most stable democracies.
In a country where 70% of the population is under 30 – like much of the global South – the Y’en a Marre (Enough is Enough) movement caught fire. After 12 years of corruption and nepotism, of high food and gasoline prices, of constant power outages, and schools shuttered because of striking teachers, the constitutional crisis had become the last straw for the people of Senegal.
14 candidates ran for President. The film follows the main players: incumbent President Wade, opposition candidate Macky Sall, music superstar Youssou Ndour, and the Y’en a Marre movement.
As the election drew closer, Wade felt threatened. Candidates were disqualified, demonstrations escalated, a student leader was killed, and Wade even resorted to courting prominent religious leaders in a dangerous ploy to destroy what had always been a secular process in a Muslim country.
Engaged with other youth movements around the world, Y’en a Marre learned hard lessons from the Arab Spring, and responded to the situation in Senegal by calling for the restoration of accountable representative democracy. Senegal’s rich cultural tradition fed a movement – led by these artist activists to register over 300,000 new voters, and rally people to the polls. More people voted in this election than ever before in the history of an independent Senegal.
Macky Sall, the candidate who ran on a platform of reform and anti-corruption, won. Y’en a Marre now wrestles with how to hold the newly elected President to his campaign promises. The film explores this transition and the question: after you unite against something, what do you then unite for?
In a time where democracy is under siege in many parts of the world, Incorruptible offers a positive, hopeful example while at the same time honestly examining the sustainability of a peoples’ movement, and the role that youth are taking in shaping the future of their own country.
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