LOOK: Ecowas 1, Mali junta 0 - Coup leaders reduce transition to democratic rule to 24-months, heeds pressure from regional authority

Photo: Ecowas headquarters in Abuja.

Photo: Ecowas headquarters in Abuja.

Published Jun 7, 2022


Cape Town - Mali's military junta will take 24 months from March 2022 to restore civilian rule after an August 2020 coup, its spokesperson said on Monday, citing a Voice of America Africa report.

"The duration of the transition is set at 24 months," the transitional government spokesperson Abdoulaye Maiga said on national television, with a start date of March 26, 2022.

Maiga said the decree followed an "advanced stage of negotiations with Ecowas", and Mali hoped sanctions would be lifted.

"The adoption of this decree is proof of the willingness of (Malian) authorities to dialogue with Ecowas," he added.

Monday’s live address by the coup leaders is the latest move in negotiations with regional bloc Ecowas to lift sanctions crippling the economy.

On Sunday, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has reiterated its strong condemnation of the coup d'Etat of 24 January 2022 in Burkina Faso and resolved to uphold the suspension of Burkina Faso from all Ecowas institutions until constitutional order is restored, reported APA.

The communique issued in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday, after its Extraordinary Session, demanded the finalisation of an acceptable transition timetable.

Meanwhile, Mali has expressed disappointment at the decision by the West Africa regional group to maintain crippling economic sanctions on the Sahel country.

It noted the correspondence of 31 May 2022 from the Transition Authorities stating their willingness and commitment to continue dialogue with Ecowas to ensure a return to constitutional order as soon as possible and resolved in line with this commitment, to continue the discussions with the authorities on the transition with a view to reaching an agreement, Mali said.

Meanwhile, the authority noted the efforts made by Burkina Faso, despite its numerous challenges, in recovering some localities, thus leading to the return of some of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the reopening of some schools and urged the Transition Authorities to sustain the momentum towards further enhancing security in the country.

According to the communique, the Authority resolved to examine the situation in Burkina Faso at its next Ordinary Summit on July 3, 2022, and decided to appoint H.E. Mahamadou ISSOUFOU, former president of the Republic of Niger, as Ecowas Mediator for Burkina Faso, to facilitate dialogue among all stakeholders, APA reported.

On the situation in Guinea, the Authority expressed serious concern over the deteriorating socio-political situation, notably due to the lack of an appropriate dialogue framework between the government and the political stakeholders and civil society actors.

On Sunday, the authority was also concerned about the length of the 36-month transition period announced by the transition authorities and demanded the finalisation of an acceptable transition timetable.

The authority on Sunday urged the government to establish an appropriate framework for dialogue with political and civil society stakeholders in order to ease the socio-political tension and ensure a peaceful transition.

Regarding Mali, the authority commended the efforts made by the Ecowas mediator with a view to reaching an acceptable timetable to ensure a quick return to constitutional order, in accordance with the Ecowas and African Union protocols and decisions.

“Accordingly, the Authority decides to uphold the sanctions imposed on 9th January 2022, continue the dialogue with a view to reaching an agreement to ensure a gradual lifting of the sanctions as benchmarks of the transition are met, call on partners to increase their humanitarian support to Mali,” the communique said, adding that the authority would examine the situation in Mali at its next Ordinary Summit on July 3, 2022, said Ecowas.