ECOWAS lifts sanctions on Mali but concerns remain
By Tasie Theodore
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS has lifted the sanctions it had placed on Mali. But concerns remain. And top of the issues being raised is on the military character of the new transitional government that the Malian junta has finally put in place.
This has come to be reinforced by the announcement of members of the transition government that is expected to lead the country back to civilian rule. As the list was unveiled Monday, it came to the fore that several members of the military junta that had seized power in the coup that ended the presidency of Ibrahim Keita would be occupying key posts in the new team.
Apart from interim president Bah Ndaw, who is a former foreign minister and retired colonel, and his Deputy, Colonel Assimi Goita, the 25-member cabinet ceded at least four central cabinet posts – defence, security, territorial administration and national reconciliation – to colonels in the army. And for good measure, the decree, yes decree announcing the appointments was read live on state television by the president’s secretary-general Sekou Traore.
Specifically, Colonel Sadio Camara was named as defence minister, while Colonel Modibo Kone gets the security and civil protection portfolio.
On his part, the erstwhile junta spokesman Colonel Ismael Wague, was named as national reconciliation minister.
Of the civilians who made the pack, the new interim prime minister, Moctar Ouane, who was a former foreign minister; former prosecutor Mohamed Sidda Dicko, who is now justice minister; and former ambassador Zeini Moulaye, now foreign affairs minister, are the most prominent.
The statement announcing the long-anticipated lifting of the sanctions on the Sahelian nation was released by the ECOWAS Commission on Tuesday.
Analysts say that it was inevitable given that the sub-regional body had boxed itself into a corner several times in the course of the crisis and therefore played out every card it had on the table except direct military intervention which would have led to an even graver fiasco given that about two third of the country’s landmass is currently being held by insurgents.
Colonel Assimi Goita, Interim Vice President, Mali