Mali transition: Will ECOWAS back down again?



Mali transition: Will ECOWAS back down again?


By John Eche


With a panel of experts put together by the ruling military junta in Mali voting for a two-year transition process that would be shepherded by a President and his deputy who are chosen by the military, the stage has presently been set to force the hand of the regional grouping, ECOWAS once again.


ECOWAS had previously handed down a one week ultimatum to the military authorities to immediately name a transition president and Prime Minister that would stay in office for a maximum one year before fresh elections are conducted to resume full democratic rule in the Sahelian nation.


However, the panel of experts says that more time is needed to rejig Mali’s political systems and is now asking for a two year term for the transition leaders.


If the ECOWAS Heads of States, who are due to hold their next session on the crisis in Accra on Tuesday assent to this proposal, it would be the second time that local circumstances would be forcing the regional grouping to beat a retreat in the management of the ongoing crisis.


The first time that the hands of the ECOWAS leaders had been forced was in respect of its earlier order that the military restore former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his prime minister to their offices. Not only the military, but the opposition and even Keita himself, declined to heed the order, stating that the nation had since discarded that option.


With no immediate end to the crisis, concern continues to mount over its continuing to linger with analysts pointing out the fact that it could have a negative multiplier effect on the political, security and economic challenges within a sub-region that has to superintend five elections in the next fourteen weeks, while at the same time battling the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, massive youth unemployment and insurgent-driven insecurity.


Former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita


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