In Mali, the junta proposes a new timetable to return power to civilians

Will the ruling junta in Mali soon agree to hold elections? While asking for a period of five years before returning power to civilians, the authorities resulting from the putsch of May 2021 announced that they had submitted, on Saturday January 8, a new proposal for a timetable to the Economic Community of African States. of the West (ECOWAS), said Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop.

ECOWAS is holding an extraordinary summit in Accra on Sunday, with the possibility of imposing new sanctions on Mali. The head of diplomacy and the spokesperson of the Malian government, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, went to Accra on Saturday to submit a new proposal to the current president of the organization, the head of state of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo , reported state television. He did not specify the new duration of the transition proposed by the junta.

Since the first putsch of August 2020 reinforced by that of May 2021 inducting Colonel Assimi Goïta as president of the « transition », ECOWAS is pushing for the return of civilians as soon as possible. The junta had reneged on its commitment to hold legislative and presidential elections in February.

The authorities of « transition » say they are unable to meet this deadline. They invoke the persistent insecurity in the country, plagued by violence of all kinds, jihadist, community, villainous … And the need for reforms, such as that of the Constitution, so that the elections do not suffer from contestation like the previous ones.

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Two coups d’état in two years

Mali, a poor and landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, was the scene of two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021. The political crisis has gone hand in hand with a serious security crisis since 2012 and the outbreak of insurgencies independence and jihadist in the north.

For ECOWAS, whose credibility is at stake, it is a question of defending its fundamental principles of governance, of stopping the contagion of the fait accompli and of containing regional instability.

Mali’s foreign minister reported on Saturday that ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan, on a mission to Mali during the week, had asked the junta to reconsider the proposal for a five-year transition to from 1is January 2022. “It is in this context that the president of the transition [le colonel Assimi Goïta], anxious to maintain dialogue and good cooperation with ECOWAS, sent us to his brother [le président ghanéen] with a new proposal to be submitted to ECOWAS ”, he said on national television.

Measuring the importance of the stakes for ECOWAS as well as for Mali in the heart of Sahelian instability, this will be the eighth time that West African leaders will meet, face-to-face or by videoconference, to speak specifically about Mali since August 2020 , not counting ordinary vertices.

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Threat of new sanctions

Exceptionally, Sunday’s meeting will be immediately preceded in the Ghanaian capital by another extraordinary summit, that of the leaders of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The eight WAEMU countries are members of ECOWAS. This pre-summit summit is seen as a sign of possible concerted action and perhaps economic sanctions against Mali.

The ECOWAS has already imposed a freeze on their financial assets and a travel ban on 150 personalities guilty according to it of obstructing the elections. It must now decide whether or not to strengthen the coercive measures.

In August 2020, ECOWAS suspended Mali from all its decision-making bodies, a suspension still in force. It had also closed all land and air borders, and instituted an embargo on financial and commercial exchanges, with the exception of basic necessities. In the midst of the pandemic, the embargo inflicted on a poor and landlocked country had been severely felt. These sanctions were lifted after a month and a half.

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The World with AFP

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In Mali, the junta proposes a new timetable to return power to civilians

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