Coup arrest of Mali's president, premier triggers divide

Some observers condemn military's desire for power, others say 'people have understood the need' for action

Aurore Bonny   | 25.05.2021
Coup arrest of Mali's president, premier triggers divide

LOME, Togo 

In the aftermath of this week’s military coup in the West African nation of Mali, less than a year since another putsch toppled the previous president last August, views of the coup and what should come next are distinctly divided.

Transitional authorities, including Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and President Bah N'Daw, were transported late Monday by force to the Kati military camp – the junta's stronghold.

This happened just hours after the appointment of a new government.

Vice President Assimi Goita confirmed Tuesday that he sponsored the operation. He announced that he withdrew the prerogatives of Ouane and N'Daw, and the military accused the men of "sabotaging" the transition.

Goita wants "to help the country to regain its dignity. It is just to rectify the situation and move forward with the transition," according to Issa Kaou Djim, a member of the National Council of Transition who spoke to Anadolu Agency.

The situation is understandable for all, he said.

"We were all aware that we are in a deadlock. The proof is that everyone is calm in (the capital) Bamako and people have understood the need. The prime minister has failed, unfortunately, together with the president. They have set themselves up against the people to impose an agenda from elsewhere.”

Brehima Diakite, the former permanent secretary of Mali’s political movement Sira Kura, said the vice president's action was in line with "consultations to clear up the misunderstandings surrounding the management of the transition."

But he said the resignation of the prime minister is not the best solution and Goita did not take the appropriate action for the country.

"Malians do not need a coup a few months after the previous one and in a state in transition. Moreover, the terrorist threat still hangs over the country. I condemn these military actions because Malians do not need more crises," he told the Turkish news agency.

He said he hopes that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is expected to arrive with representatives in Mali on Tuesday, will advance discussions and promote new solutions.

Other voices have been raised to reject the coup.

On Twitter, Malians lined up behind "Wuli, no to the coup in Mali,” a slogan to symbolize their determination and solidarity against the situation. The hashtag #Wuli – meaning "stand up" in Bambara, a local Malian language – has received thousands of tweets since Monday night.

‘No one has right to panic Mali’

In the view of former Justice Minister Mamadou Ismaila Konate, the military carried out "an act of unprecedented gravity.”

"No one has the right to panic this country and this nation, which needs calm, peace and absolute security," he said on Twitter.

Former Prime Minister Moussa Mara was "saddened" to learn of the arrests of transitional authorities. He also criticized "the seizure of power by arms, whether in a transition or during a constitutional regime."

Housseini Amion Guindo, head of the Convergence for the Development of Mali (CODEM) party, urged political parties, civil society, religions and others to oppose "this misadventure."

Regis Hounkpe, a pan-African geopolitical expert, told Anadolu Agency that the situation is "very complicated" and "unstable" for a country that should be at the vanguard of securing the Sahel region against terrorism.

He said the military junta just proved its attachment to power and the perks of power instead of going to the borders to confront terrorists.

And he accused the African Union of making strategic concessions to these kinds of situation.

"By endorsing the military junta for 18 months in Chad, for example,” said Hounkpe, referring to this April’s coup, which brought to power Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, also known as General Kaka, who is to lead the country for 18 months until elections.

“The Malian military is inspired by that. The AU must take its responsibility and execute all its resolutions.”

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