Tag Archives: Mahmoud Dicko

Mali Imam supports ECOWAS demands

On September 9 the influential Mali cleric Imam Mahmoud Dicko urged the military commanders led by Colonel Assimi Goita to comply with demands from West African leaders (ECOWAS) to name a civilian interim transition President and Prime minister by September 15 to ease sanctions imposed after last month’s coup.

“If the international community, including ECOWAS, now thinks that the presidency of this transition should be given to civilians, let’s give it to civilians,” Dicko said, ruling himself out of the running.

“Mali is full of executives, men of integrity, let’s find this rare bird.”

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned and dissolved Parliament last month after imperative demands of the officers. The military coup d’état was welcomed by Malians, accusing the the government of endemic corruption, mounting to 40% of state funds.

Opposition groups also voiced enthusiastic support for the coup, but the sympathy has faded away last week when the opposition coalition, of which Dicko is a senior figure, sharply criticised the officers led by the Colonel Assimi Goita after they discovered that he was not invited to preliminary consultations about the transition.

International powers say that they fear the political uncertainty in Bamako could undermine the fight across West Africa’s Sahel region against Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

On September 5 the officers led by Assimi Goita began talks with Mali’s political parties and civil society groups over a transition to civilian rule. The move was welcomed by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), but they did not lift the sanctions.

Dicko, a Salafist preacher who earlier this year electrified protesters during anti-government demonstrations, told the state broadcaster late on September 9 that Mali needed assistance and that it had nothing to gain by going behind the back of the international community.

New consultations are scheduled for Thursday, September 10 in the country. Discussions will focus on the distribution of posts between civilians and military, the duration of the transition and many other topics covering the transition period. Civil society, armed groups, political parties, unions and others are invited to the consultation. Probably the last round because Colonel Goita must make its decision before September 15, the date of the ECOWAS ultimatum.

This consultation will take place in Bamako, and is open to a broad spectrum of players. The documents provided by the committee of experts will help develop the debates. The military could withdraw from power, if there is a good guarantee, according to sources. Absent during the first consultations, the head of the officers in coma to Colonel Goita could take part in the work from September 10, claiming openness with regard to the transition.

EU: Mali National Assembly enables way out of crisis

Presidents from five West African countries arrive in Mali on July 23 in an attempt to negotiate an end to a political crisis that affected the country and raised concerns it could undermine a regional security, and ongoing struggle against jihadists armed groups.

Endemic corruption, disputed local election results and army losses to jihadists cause massive indignation of Malians, when tens of thousands have taken to the streets,  clashing with police. The episodes of urban violence caused death of protesters in July, according to the United Nations.

The opposition, a group called M5-RFP  led by Saudi-trained Muslim cleric Mahmoud Dicko, announced it will not quit until President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita steps down, raising concerns in neighboring countries of a protracted political crisis.

M5-RFP demands the resignation of Keita or the satisfaction of our demands,” which include the establishment of a committee of inquiry into civilian deaths and a transitional government, the spokesperson Nouhoum Togo told international reporters.

The leaders of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana and Niger will meet with Keita and then Dicko and other opposition leaders at a hotel in the capital Bamako, according to the mission schedule.

They are concerned of the danger a destabilisation of Mali poses to the entire region of Sahel,  plagued by activities of militia linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State attacking neighbouring countries including Niger and Burkina Faso.

Public opposition to Keita has changed to harder tones after protesters were killed by police in early July.

The M5-RFP rejected mediation measures proposed by a mission from the West African ECOWAS bloc last week.

The European diplomacy has issued a statement, supporting the African Union efforts to find a solution for the protracted political crisis:

“The good offices mission of President Goodluck Jonathan, at the head of an ECOWAS delegation in Bamako, made it possible to move forward towards a framework of concrete and politically balanced solutions.

“The European Union joins the African Union Declaration of July 21 and encourages all political actors and civil society to fully engage in the implementation of the recommendations of the ECOWAS mission. The re-establishment of a legitimate National Assembly and a Government of National Union will enable Mali to overcome the current crisis.

“The European Union deplores the large number of deaths and injuries following the demonstrations in Bamako on Friday July 10 and the following days. It offers its condolences to the relatives of the victims, calls for an investigation to be carried out as soon as possible and for legal proceedings to be taken against those responsible”.