MALI’S military junta has agreed to the proposed Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) transition programme that involves them conducting elections and handing over to a democratic government within a year.
Earlier this 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 has 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 has 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 a declaration made available to the media after a video conference meeting among the Ecowas heads of state and Dr Jonathan, the regime agreed to the demands of the sub-regional body.
Under the terms of the deal, the Malian military was mandated to, without further delay, begin the process for a civilian transition in consultation with the Constitutional Court as well as all relevant parties and stakeholders. Dr Jonathan’s deal also involves the appointment of a transition president.
This appointee must be a civilian and known for his/her professional qualities as well as intellectual and moral probity and shall be responsible for leading the transition. Whoever is appointed as the transition president must not stand as a candidate in the next presidential election.