ECOWAS enforces threat against unconstitutional ascent to power in Mali

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By Oludare Richards, Abuja

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended, placed economic embargo on and has shut down all land and air borders with Mali.

In line with an earlier threat against non-tolerance to unconstitutional ascent to power, ECOWAS, late Tuesday, published a decisive communique on the military takeover in Mali, one of 15 members of the regional organization.

Key amongst the decisions taken so far by the regional body is – the suspension of Mali from all decision making bodies of ECOWAS as well as placing and economic and financial embargo on them.

The Community has also urged member states to close all land and air borders with the landlocked country and has as well called for immediate implementation of sanctions against all military officers, their partners and collaborators who participated in yesterday’s military takeover until Constitutional order is restored.

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The regional body also says it is dispatching a high-level delegation to Mali to ensure the return of Constitutional order.

Furthermore, other international bodies and governments have all condemned the military takeover yesterday in Mali.

United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG), Antonio Guterres, demanded the “unconditional release” of Mali’s leaders and the “immediate restoration of constitutional order”.

The chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he “emphatically condemns” the arrests of President Keïta and his Prime Minister.

Also, the office of French President, Emmanuel Macron, has “condemned the attempted mutiny underway”. French Foreign Minister, Jean Yves Le Drian, urged the soldiers to return to barracks.

The United States special envoy to the Sahel, Peter Pham, tweeted: “The United States opposes any extra-constitutional change of government, whether by those on the streets or by the defense and security forces”.

Meanwhile, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned late last Tuesday night, hours after mutinous soldiers detained him and his Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse.

The president was seized from his home following months of mass protests against alleged corruption and worsening security in the West African country

It may be recalled that following its submissions from the ECOWAS Mediation Mission on the Resolution of the Socio-political Crisis in Mali in July 2020, the body said it would not tolerate any unconstitutional means of ascent to power in Mali.

This was after Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led Mediation Mission had recommended urgent constitution of a Government of national unity based on consensus and taking into account the recommendations of the Inclusive Dialogue.

The Mediation Mission, deployed July 15 to 19, 2020, was a follow-up to the ECOWAS Good Offices Ministerial Mission to Mali from June 18 to 20, 2020.

Urging for a speedy resolution to the socio-political crisis in Mali, the Mediation Mission noted the importance and necessity of respecting the institutions of the Republic of Mali, particularly the constitutional means of ascending to power in conformity with the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

It recommended proposed representations of 50% of the members of Government of Mali to be drawn from its ruling political coalition, 30% from the opposition and 20% of members of government to be drawn from the civil society.

Upon its formation, the new government will give priority to enhancing governance; to the reforms provided for in the conclusions of the Inclusive National Dialogue; the expeditious implementation of the Algiers Agreement and for the implementation of the measures to be concluded by July 31, 2020.

While it expressed it’s condolences to the people and Government of Mali for the loss of lives, the Mission had lurged authorities to finalize investigations into deaths that occurred during the demonstrations on July 10, 11 and 12, 2020.

ECOWAS urged that the investigations extend to all forms of violence and destruction of public buildings including the National Assembly, the office of the Radio and Television of Mali (ORTM) and High Council of Local Communities, as well as private properties, in order to establish all responsibilities with a view to implementing the appropriate sanctions.

At the end of various consultations with stakeholders, the Mission noted that the issues of the socio-political crisis revolved around governance issues as well as the points already raised by the ECOWAS Ministerial Mission of June 18 – 20, 2020.

These points include the reconstitution of the Constitutional Court subsequent to the abrogation of the decree appointing its members; addressing the disputed 31 seats in Parliament and the formulation of a Government of National Unity.

Also following consultations with stakeholders, the mission proposed way out of the crises in Mali. One is with regard to the reconstitution of the Constitutional Court. The Mission recommended that pending the resolution of disputes over legislative elections, that the Presidency of the Republic of Mali and the Supreme Legal Council to each appoint three (3) members of the Constitutional Court.

The President’s nominations will be made on a consensual basis by informing all the stakeholders, in conformity with 1992 Constitutional of the Republic of Mali. The six members of the Constitutional Court then meet the quorum requirements.

The Constitutional Court, reconstituted, was aimed to deliberate and review the results of the legislative elections of the 31 parliamentarians concerned.

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