Colonel Assimi Goïta, vice-president of Mali, announced on Tuesday that he had dismissed President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, arrested the day before by members of the army. Colonel Assimi Goita also assured that the elections will be held in 2022.
The strong man of the Malian power, Colonel Assimi Goïta, indicated Tuesday, May 25 having relieved the President and the Transitional Prime Minister of their prerogatives arrested the day before by the military, accusing them of attempting to “sabotage” the transition.
Assimi Goïta also indicated, in a statement read on public television by a collaborator in uniform, that “the transition process will follow its normal course and that the planned elections will be held during 2022”.
Violation of the transition charter
Colonel Goïta, at the head of the putschists who overthrew President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on August 18, 2020, accused President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane of having formed a new government without consulting him beforehand, although he is in charge of defense and security, crucial areas in a country in turmoil.
“Such an approach testifies to a clear will of the president of the transition and of the Prime Minister to move towards a violation of the transitional charter (…), from where a proven intention of sabotage of the transition”, he said.
The charter, largely written by the colonels, is a reference text of the transition supposed to bring civilians back to power.
Colonel Goïta said he saw himself “under an obligation to act” and “place outside their prerogatives the President and the Prime Minister as well as all the people involved in the situation”.
Quiet in the capital Bamako
Mali experienced, on August 18, 2020, its fourth coup d’état since independence. If Bamako was buzzing with rumors that are difficult to confirm, the capital nevertheless presented an air of relative normality on Monday evening. International missions have issued messages of caution.
The colonels had installed, after a few weeks, the transitional authorities: a president, Ban Ndaw – a retired soldier – and a government led by Moctar Ouane, a civilian, who had enlisted, reluctantly and under pressure. of the international community, to make power to civilians elected after 18 months, and not three years as they deemed necessary.
A newly announced new government
Faced with a growing political and social protest, the Prime Minister presented the resignation of his government ten days ago and was immediately reappointed by the transitional president Ndaw, with the mission of forming an openness team.
The great unknown was the place that would be given to the military, in particular to those close to the former junta, and the fear that the colonels would not be satisfied with the choices of Moctar Ouane has grown steadily in recent days.
In the government announced by the transitional presidency, soldiers still hold the ministries of Defense, Security, Territorial Administration and National Reconciliation.
But, among the changes announced in a statement read on public radio and television, two members of the former junta, Colonels Sadio Camara and Modibo Kone, are leaving their respective Defense and Security portfolios. They were replaced respectively by General Souleymane Doucoure and by General Mamadou Lamine Ballo.
The new government also welcomes – for Education and Land Affairs – two ministers who are members of the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD), the main political force of the June 5 Movement (M5), the collective which had animated the dispute which led to the overthrow of President Keïta.
For Bassirou Ben Doumbia, political analyst interviewed on the antenna of France 24, the events of Monday are linked to communication between the transitional government and the army. “The junta was not consulted during the resignation or during the reappointment of the Prime Minister, he explains. Today, during the establishment of the government, two emblematic figures” of the events of the summer 2020 have been ruled out, he adds. “The president of the transition bases the legitimacy of his power on the military, they are the ones who put him in power. The fact of not consulting them and removing certain heavyweights from the government may seem like a kind of betrayal of the military, ”says the analyst.
“The dismissal of the pillars of the coup is a major misconception,” a former Malian government official told Reuters. “These actions are surely intended to allow them to regain their posts,” he added.
We do not immediately know the precise objective of the army. A member of the military in Kati told Reuters it was not an arrest. “What they have done is not right,” said a source, referring to the reshuffle. “We let them know that decisions are going to be made.”
According to analyst Bassirou Ben Doumbia, the current crisis could have consequences for the security of the country. “Mali is living a situation of exceptional security crisis, he declared on France 24. (…) If during this moment, those who were supposed to embody national defense are in power struggles, then there may be consequences on the effectiveness of military action in the fight against jihadism. “
Condemnation of the international community
The UN, major African organizations, France, the United States and other countries on Monday condemned the “attempted coup” underway in Mali and rejected in advance any fait accompli, including a possible forced resignation transitional leaders arrested by the military.
In a joint statement, the UN mission in Mali (Minusma), the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union “demand the immediate and unconditional release” of the President and the Prime Minister of transition arrested during the day with some of their collaborators.
Separately, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in a tweet called for “calm” in Mali and the “unconditional release” of its civilian leaders, arrested during the day by the military.
Deeply concerned about the detention of civilian leaders of the Malian transition. I call for calm and their unconditional release. My Special Representative is working with ECOWAS, the AU and international actors supporting the ongoing political transition. https://t.co/82dIXDcAD4
– António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 25, 2021
With AFP and Reuters