By Bukar Bolori
Mali has been suspended from the West African regional bloc, Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) until the current military dictators vacant office and return the country to civil rule.
The decision was announced after an emergency meeting of the sub-region’s leaders in Accra, Ghana on Sunday.
Ghana’s Foreign Affairs minister, Shirley Ayorko Botchwey told journalists that the Mali junta’s non-adherence to the mediatory role of ECOWAS necessistated the decision of ECOWAS leaders.
She added that the West Africa leaders gave a few days ultimatum to the Colonel Assimi Goitta-led junta to restore a civilian to the post of Prime Minister, so that the transition agreed to following the ouster of the democratically-elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August, is followed up to its February, 2022 terminal date.
ECOWAS envoy, former Nigerian president, Goodlluck Jonathan had briefed the meeting behind closed-doors of his mediatory trips to Mali last week.
The communique released after the meeting revealed that Extraordinary Summit was convened to review the prevailing socio-political crisis in Mali following the arrest, detention and subsequent resignations of the President and the Prime Minister of the Transition on 26th May 2021, as well as to determine the next line of action for the transition.
The communique read that after the presentation of the report by Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria and ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, the Heads of State expressed strong and deep concerns over the present crisis in Mali, which is coming halfway to the end of the agreed transition period, in the context of the security challenges related to incessant terrorist attacks and the Covid-19 Pandemic with its dire socio-economic impacts.
The Heads of State subsequently demanded the immediate release of the former President and Prime Minister of the Transition who are kept under house arrest.
They also strongly condemned this recent Coup d’Etat, which they agreed was a violation of the decisions taken at the extraordinary Summit held at the Peduase Lodge, Aburi, Ghana on 15th September 2020 and a violation of the Transition Charter.
The Head of States after extensive discussions on the situation in Mali, also took the following decisions: they reaffirmed the importance and necessity of respecting the democratic process for ascending to power, in conformity with the 2001 ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. They particularly condemned all actions that led to ongoing instability in Mali, and its attendant consequences in the region.
They decided to suspend Mali from ECOWAS Institutions in line with ECOWAS provisions; and called for a new civilian Prime Minister to be nominated immediately.
They also demanded that a new inclusive government should be formed to proceed with the transition programme; while reaffirming the need to respect the transition period of 18 months decided in Accra. In this context, the date of 27th February 2022 already announced for the Presidential election should be absolutely main-tained. A monitoring Mechanism will be put in place to this effect.
They also reiterated the earlier decisions that the Head of the transition, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister of the transition should not, under any circumstances, be candidates for the forthcoming Presidential election; even as they reaffirmed ECOWAS’ support to accompany the transition process in Mali, and urged all international partners (the African Union, the United Nations, and the European Union) to continue to support Mali towards the successful implementation of the transition.
They however congratulated and encouraged the Mediator to persevere with his mediation efforts and remain seized of the situation in Mali through the Local Monitoring Committee, while calling for the immediate implementation of all the decisions in conformity with the transition timetable defined, and asked the Mediator to return to Mali within a week to engage stakeholders on these decisions.