MALI’s military junta has been given until September 15 by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to appoint a civilian head of a transitional government as part of a wider plan to restoring democracy within a year.
Last month, what started off as a military mutiny over salary arrears, ballooned into a full blown coup as soldiers took over the capital Bamako and arrested President Ibrahim Keita and prime minister Boubou Cisse. Following the takeover, President Keita announced his resignation on national television and both men were taken into custody at an army facility the Kati military base on the outskirts of Bamako.
However, Ecowas quickly condemned the coup, closed all land and air borders with Mali and will now push for sanctions against the new junta. Former Nigerian president Dr Goodluck Jonathan made repeated trips to Bamako, the Malian capital in search of a deal that will allow democracy to be returned to Mali.
Initially, the Malian junta had wanted to remain in office for three years but under pressure from Ecowas, it has agreed to go after a year. In the meantime, it agreed to appoint a civilian known for his/her professional qualities as well as intellectual and moral probity as the head of an interim government.
This person would be responsible for leading the transition and whoever is appointed as the transition president must not stand as a candidate in the next presidential election. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the chairman of the Ecowas Commission, said Mali’s civilian transition president and prime minister must be appointed no later than September 15.
This week, Ecowas heads of state have been meeting in Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic, where they issued the ultimatum to the Malian junta. At the summit, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo was elected as the new Ecowas chairman.