Mali acquires a transitional president

Is this the beginning of the end of the Malian political crisis? An important step must be taken, this Friday, September 25, during the swearing-in of Colonel Major Bah Ndaw, a retired former soldier chosen to chair the transition period supposed to bring civilians back to power.

Appointed Monday, September 21 by the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), set up by the junta, Colonel Major Bah Ndwa has the double advantage of being a career soldier respected by the Malian armed forces and by a large part of the population, and to be retired today, which makes him a civilian. The committee, by this designation, thus fulfills the condition issued by the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lift its sanctions against Mali, taken following the putsch of August 18.

ECOWAS reaction

ECOWAS is expected to speak out after Bah Ndaw’s investiture, and it seems that it will accept the new Malian organization chart as suggested by its envoy, Nigerian Goodluck Jonathan, who arrived in Bamako on Wednesday 23 September. Asked about a lifting of West African sanctions, he replied that it would be up to Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, as the organization’s rotating presidency, to make the announcement.

“I think he will probably vote on Friday, after the inauguration”, All the same said Goodluck Jonathan, who will attend Bah Ndwa’s investiture ceremony.

This decision is eagerly awaited in Mali. Since August 20, in fact, ECOWAS has closed the country’s borders, and suspended its trade and financial exchanges with Mali. Sanctions that considerably hamper this landlocked country, already facing a serious economic and social crisis, the spread of jihadist groups and intercommunal violence. On Wednesday 23 September, three Malian soldiers were killed again in an attack in Boulkessy, in the center of the country.

France’s support

At the same time, France, which has always pleaded for a civilian to be put at the head of the transition and which has asserted this position at ECOWAS through the voice of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, itself endorsed the choice of the junta, Wednesday September 22. ” We take note of these first appointments which represent an encouraging first step in the transition process in Mali, which should lead to the holding of elections of legitimate authorities ”, resolved on Quai d’Orsay.

« The choice of Bah Ndwa as the presidency of the transition does not fool anyone, but pragmatism has won everyone’s mind », Says an observer in Bamako. Basically, everyone knows that the military are determined to keep control of the transition. This is also evidenced by the appointment, as vice-president, of Colonel Goïtas, head of the CNSP. Among its prerogatives, defense, security and the rebuilding of the State.

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