Mali — ECOWAS Continues Calls for Unity Government

  • The announcement was made after a summit held by the regional bloc on Monday.
  • Earlier, a team from ECOWAS, which was led by Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, failed to reach an agreement.
  • The talks follow protests organized by the opposition coalition that have been on going in the country calling for the president’s resignation.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has opposed calls for Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s resignation, saying that a unity government be formed instead. Additionally, ECOWAS is warning of sanctions on all those who will be obstacles to the process.

The Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS, is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa. Collectively, these countries comprise an area of 5,114,162 km2 (1,974,589 sq mi), and in 2015 had an estimated population of over 349 million.

The leaders have also called on all the 31 Members of Parliament who were elected in the disputed legislative elections to step down so as to allow for fresh elections. The announcement was made after a summit held by the regional bloc on Monday.

The group has also urged Malians to reject violence and embrace peace. However, the opposition coalition said it was not pleased with the proposals, adding that they were against the will of the people. Earlier, a team from ECOWAS, which was led by Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, failed to reach an agreement since the opposition rejected the recommendations.

The team had proposed the formation of a unity government in which the current coalition was to take up half of the positions, while the other half was to be shared by the opposition and the civil groups.

Other recommendations by the team included formation of a new court, as well as having an election for the disputed legislative seats. ECOWAS was instrumental in ensuring that the country returned to democracy in 2013, when Keita was elected.

The talks follow protests organized by the opposition coalition, which have been on going in the country calling for the president’s resignation. Earlier in the month, protests that lasted for four days claimed the lives of 11 people and left dozens others injured.

The government was also accused of using lethal force during the protests, something that prompted the country’s Prime Minister to apologize.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, or as he is often known as IBK, is the incumbent President of Mali since 2013. Keïta is the founding father of a left-wing political party called Rally for Mali (RPM) in 2001.

Last month, thousands of protesters gathered in the streets on two different occasions calling for the resignation of the president. The first was held on June 5, and the second on June 19. The protests have been dubbed “Movement of 5 June- Rally of Patriotic Forces.”

Political tensions in the country began after the disputed legislative election that was held in March. The country’s economy is also said to be worsening amid the coronavirus pandemic. Corruption is another big problem in the country. The protesters said that not much was being done to fight corruption or fix the ailing economy.

Keita, who secured his second five-year term in 2018, has led the country since 2013. Mali’s previous ruler, Amadou Toumani Touré, was overthrown in a military coup in 2012. Touré had spent a decade in power. The French-led military operation ousted the Islamic extremists from power.

Mali is struggling to contain an Islamic insurgency that has ripped through the country since it erupted in 2012, and has since claimed thousands of military and civilian lives. The violence in the country has since spread to its neighbors, Niger and Burkina Faso.  The UN estimates that about 4,000 people were killed in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso in 2019 and thousands others displaced.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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