Reaching a compromise in the ongoing socio-political crisis | Daily News
The future of Mali

Reaching a compromise in the ongoing socio-political crisis

Colonel Assimi Goita and delegation at the ECOWAS meeting in Ghana on September 15.
Colonel Assimi Goita and delegation at the ECOWAS meeting in Ghana on September 15.

From September 10 to September 15, the military junta in power has gathered the views from the different components of the Malian nation to establish the political transition just three weeks after the fall of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK). This intellectual forum of Malians are still looking for a way out to find the path that should lead them back to a normal constitutional order.

The military has held the reins of the country since August 18 is under pressure from internal forces such as the Mouvement du 5 juin - Rassemblement des Forces Patriotiques (M5-RFP), and from the international community, specially from ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) to guarantee the conditions for a civilian-led political transition.

At the outset, Colonel Assimi Goïta, head of the Bamako junta and President of the National Council for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), reminded his compatriots that they should get together to work to achieve success for future generations. Therefore they seek genuine assistance from all the intellectual bodies and working parties to forget differences and irregularities faced since 1960 and take this opportunity to build the foundations of this nation based on efficiency, social justice, peace, creativity and support a Mali where it is good to live for everybody.

This dialogue took placed due to the tremendous pressure applied by ECOWAS last Monday during its 57th Ordinary Summit of Heads of States including 15 countries at Niamey (Niger).

This regional organization set an ultimatum to the military junta for the appointment of two civilians, no later than September 15, to the posts of President and Prime Minister of the transition. Five days before the deadline, Assimi Goïta renewed the junta’s willingness to participate in the establishment of an architecture for the transition and this in strict compliance with the will of the Malian people due to the fact of the economic embargos on trade and the restriction of financial flows at present. At the end of three days of exchanges, a Charter of the Transition, in which the nature, whether a civil or military, and duration of the transition will be formulated.

Meanwhile Mahmoud Dicko, Head of the Malian Islamic High Council and the most powerful politico-religious influential figure in the country and who served as a mediator between the Malian government and jihadist groups in the north of the country expressed his views during an interview on ORTM (Malian Public Television), that Malian people have a common history and destiny with France and this fact should not be ignored.

Further he blamed ECOWAS for not adopting the behaviour of brothers at this juncture and urged the organization not to talk about sanctions, but to talk about friendship. On the other hand, he acknowledged that Mali is a part of ECOWAS, saying that it is governed by rules and so if we are a member of this organization, we must accept these rules.

The three days of national consultation on the transition ended on a note of satisfaction. The roadmap and the transition Charter were validated by the participants. The main objective of this national consultation was to bring together the living forces of the nation to agree on the practical modalities of the transition. Specifically, it involved defining the main thrusts of the roadmap and developing the Transition Charter, namely, defining the bodies, powers, method of appointment and duration.

These three-day meetings brought together more than 500 participants.

On the draft roadmap for the transition, the participants selected six areas: the re-establishment and strengthening of defence and security throughout the national territory, the promotion of good governance, the overhaul of the education system, political and institutional reforms, the adoption of a social stability pact and the organization of general elections.

On the Transitional Charter, the following bodies have been selected: the transitional president, head of state, the vice-president, the transitional government composed of 25 ministers at most, the National Transitional Council which is the legislative body made up of 121 members from the defence and security forces and all of the nation’s vital forces. Participants also set the duration of the transition at 18 months as from the date of the presidential inauguration.

As the closing remarks, the president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), Colonel Assimi Goïta recalled that since the advent of multiparty democracy, the country has experienced various difficulties hampering the functioning of the state. To this end, the days of consultations were an opportunity for the vital forces of the nation to discuss the concerns of the moment and the future of the country. When things been happening in a such an extraordinary manner, the most powerful Signatory Armed Group in the Northern region financially fuelled by Algeria and a significant player in Mali’s peace effort, the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), decided to boycott the crucial consultation organized by the military junta on the conditions for a return of civilians to power, and officially said there will be a big mishmash which is a bad sign for the ongoing transition process as well as unity of the Mali.

Subsequently, Mali’s ruling military has met with the heads of state of neighboring countries. ECOWAS president presided over a meeting on Tuesday, September 15 in Accra, Ghana. The regional organization had given the junta until that date to cede power to a civilian body. The head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, made the trip himself, accompanied by a large delegation. It was his first trip outside the national territory since the coup on August 18.

According to his entourage, this trip was important, there was no question of going to confront the president of the Economic Community of West African States.

In Accra, Bamako’s military first listened carefully to their interlocutors. Then, they have come back to the motivations of the coup – even if they do not like this expression too much – to explain what happened on August 18. Depending on how the summit unfolds, they were given 40 minutes to convince. In particular, they were to present an outline of the transition adopted on September 12 in Bamako, namely to have in 18 months a civilian or military president. The putschists have made a presentation to justify such a length of time. Knowing the intransigence of ECOWAS, the junta has presented the developed roadmap with several options to establish democratic transition for the prevailing issue. So at last, ECOWAS agreed to the proposals for ending the crisis and announced that to the AU and MINUSMA, two institutions to monitoring the process.

Further to that, the Heads of State of ECOWAS decided on September 15 in Accra, Ghana, to lift sanctions against Mali as soon as the transition leaders are appointed and decided to send a delegation led by the former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, ECOWAS mediator, to Bamako to review the implementation of their decisions in near future.

With the ongoing socio-political crisis in Mali, there is another geopolitical issue arising as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu landed in Mali on September 9. It is in a context of growing tensions with France and he agreed to lend his support to confront the embargo imposed by ECOWAS.