ECOWAS Leaders determined to solve the socio-political crisis in Mali

The Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member countries have called on Malians to refrain from violence and employ dialogue to resolve disputes in the country. They made the call in a joint communiqué issued at the end of the extra-ordinary summit by video conference held on 27th July 2020. During the summit, ECOWAS leaders examined the socio-political crisis in Mali and took necessary decisions to restore peace and stability in the country.

The Heads of State and Government made an urgent appeal to all stakeholders to observe the truce on demonstrations in order to create a climate of serenity and trust that will encourage dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. “Any threat to peace security and stability in any individual member states is a threat to ECOWAS as a whole”, they warned. The Heads of State and Government noted that the main institutions of Mali are currently inoperative. They further stressed the need to respect the institutions of the republic and abide by constitutional means of ascending to power as in line with the ECOWAS supplementary protocol on democracy and good governance.

Given the gravity and urgency of the situation, the Heads of State and Government made the following decisions on the legislature, executive and judiciary. On the National Assembly, they urged all political parties to facilitate the immediate resignation of all the 31 members of parliament whose election are being contested. The ECOWAS authorities also called for immediate re-composition of the constitutional court in accordance with the legal provisions in force in Mali.

On the executive, they suggested the establishment of a National Unity Government led by Prime Minister Boubou Cisse as in line with the recommendations of the mediator. “50% of the members of the unity government will come from the ruling coalition, 30% from the opposition and 20% from the civil society”, they agreed. The heads of state and government further encourage the opposition, especially M5-RFP to participate in the National Unity government.

The officials further asked relevant authorities to quickly conduct investigations on the events of 10, 11, and 12 July 2020 to determine the causes and those responsible for the violence that led to several casualties, deaths and destruction of properties.  They encouraged the president of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to set up a fund to support the injured and the families of victims of the demonstrations.

The Heads of State and government reiterated their solidarity with HON Soumaila Cisse, the opposition leader abducted since 25th March 2020 and urged the Malian authorities to continue their efforts to secure his release.

The ECOWAS authorities appeal to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the United Nations Security Council to endorse the decision adopted by the Extra-ordinary Summit for a way out of the crisis in Mali.

The ECOWAS Commission is being tasked by the summit to put in place a monitoring committee comprising representatives from the government, parliament, judiciary, civil society, M5-RFP, majority parties, women and youths, as well as local representatives of AU and UN.

It could be recalled that the current socio-political situation in Mali characterised by demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s government started in early June 2020. The situation was reportedly triggered by serious security threat with recurring terrorist attacks and inter-community tensions in the central part of the country. There is also social tension underpinned by protracted strikes by teachers and health crisis caused by covid-19 pandemic and its economic and financial consequences.