9th June, 2021
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrived Bamako, Mali on Tuesday for another 48-hour mediation mission on behalf of ECOWAS.
He arrived a day after Colonel Assimi Goita pledged to swiftly return the country to civilian rule after leading its second coup in nine months.
Jonathan, representing the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as special envoy, will meet Goita in the evening, a diplomat said.
The mediator will also have working sessions with the stakeholders of the Transition.
He will take stock of the implementation of the recommendations of the extraordinary session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS on Mali, held in Accra, Ghana, on May 30. latest.
During the summit, the leaders recommended to the authorities of Mali the appointment of a civilian prime minister, the formation of an inclusive government and the respect of the dates indicated for the electoral exchanges
Mali is battling to restore credibility with its partners after the second military takeover since August sparked diplomatic uproar.
Goita led a putsch that toppled Mali’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and last month ousted the two civilian heads of the post-coup interim government.
Deposed president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane had been tasked with steering Mali back to civilian rule by February 2020.
In his inauguration speech on Monday, Goita promised Mali “will uphold all its commitments” and stood by the deadline for the elections set by the transitional government.
He also named a veteran political figure, Choguel Kolkalla Maiga, a 63-year-old leader of the country’s biggest campaign movement, as prime minister.
Those two moves aim at key demands set by Mali’s partners.
ECOWAS suspended Mali following the second coup but stopped short of reimposing sanctions — a lever that pushed the junta into accepting a civilian-led caretaker government after the first takeover.
Mali’s chronic instability has deepened fears of chaos in a country key to efforts to stem the jihadist insurgency sweeping the Sahel.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Mali is deeply reliant on outside help to combat Islamist violence that first emerged in 2012, and now threatens the region.
On Monday evening, Maiga began holding consultations on forming a new government, with ECOWAS pushing for it to be “inclusive” — a potential tall order in the politically polarised nation.
Maiga told AFP that forming a government should not take long, however, adding that there is “total break with what there was in the past”.
Mali’s main political players have offered little resistance to the coup.
Mahmoud Dicko, an influential imam who rallied dissent against Keita in 2020, has said he “acknowledges” the new political reality in Bamako.
ECOWAS leaders are due to convene again in Ghana on June 19.
*AFP and L’essor Mali