Cheikh Tidiane Gadio
Diplomatic and political career
Gadio was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs when Abdoulaye Wade took office as President in April 2000. He was promoted to the rank of Minister of State, while retaining the foreign affairs portfolio, in November 2002.
At the African Union summit in Accra, Ghana in early July 2007, where leaders discussed whether a United States of Africa should be created immediately or gradually, Gadio expressed Senegal's stance in favor of immediate creation, saying that "We are ready to abandon partially or totally our sovereignty to join a unity government in Africa." He mentioned the possibility that Senegal could join a smaller union of willing states if the rest of Africa was not ready.
As Foreign Minister, Gadio played a prominent role in African diplomacy, and President Wade praised him as "the best foreign minister in Africa". After more than nine years as Foreign Minister, Gadio was replaced by Madické Niang in the government named on 1 October 2009. No reason was given, although in the Senegalese press it was reported that Gadio had a poor relationship with Karim Wade, the President's son, who also served in the government as Minister of State for International Cooperation, Infrastructure, Air Transport, and Public Works.
A few months after his dismissal, Gadio emerged as a critic and opponent of President Wade, launching a new political movement, the Citizen Political Movement (Mouvement politique citoyen, MPC), in May 2010. While sharply criticizing Wade, Gadio reaffirmed his support for pan-Africanism in his movement's manifesto and expressed his hope for an "African Renaissance" in the 21st century. He vowed to combat efforts to eliminate the second round of presidential elections in Senegal; the proposal to reduce elections to a single round was perceived as a change that would work to Wade's benefit.
Gadio is a presidential candidate for the 2012 presidential election on the June 23 Movement (M23), which includes his MPC.
- Profile at Senegalese Foreign Ministry web site.
- "Union africaine: deux blocs s'affrontent sur la création du gouvernement de l'UA", Agence France-Presse, 2 June 2007 (French).
- "Leaders split over African unity", BBC News Online, 3 July 2007.
- "Senegal's foreign minister steps down", Agence France-Presse, 1 October 2009.
- "Cheikh Tidiane Gadio et son mouvement politique en vedette", Agence de Presse Sénégalaise, 8 May 2010.