The imprisoned Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko, whose candidacy for the 2024 presidential election is compromised, has ended his hunger strike which he has been leading since mid-October, announced two officials from his party who visited him in prison . “He has suspended the use of this weapon for the moment,” MP Guy Marius Sagna said in a message sent to AFP.

Habib Sy, responsible within the opponent’s coalition, also published an authenticated text on his Facebook page which confirmed the information. “In any case, he will take it up again, depending on the context,” he nevertheless clarified.

The two men both assured that Mr Sonko was “in excellent shape” and in good spirits. He had been admitted to intensive care in a hospital in Dakar after losing consciousness at the end of October and was at that time in a “very weak” condition, according to his lawyers. “Sonko remains our one and only candidate,” Mr. Sagna said.

However, the Supreme Court in Senegal overturned on Friday a judgment which had put Mr. Sonko back in the presidential race by annulling his removal from the electoral lists following a conviction in a morality scandal.

Sentenced to two years in prison

This case must be retried at a date still unknown while a race against time is underway for the opponent if he wants to obtain his sponsorships, an essential step to be a presidential candidate.

Pastef, Mr. Sonko’s party, has been calling since Sunday to also support Bassirou Diomaye Faye, also behind bars. “To sponsor Diomaye is to sponsor Sonko,” states a party campaign. The political party, however, continues to say that Ousmane Sonko’s candidacy is plan A.

Mr. Sonko, 49, third in the last presidential election, was found guilty on June 1 of debauchery of a minor and sentenced to two years in prison. Having refused to appear at the trial which he denounced as a plot to exclude him from the election, he was convicted in absentia.

His conviction had provoked the deadliest unrest in years in Senegal. He was imprisoned at the end of July on other charges, including calling for insurrection, criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise and endangering state security.