The Malian transition government has ordered the representatives of the West African regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to leave the country, accusing the bloc of working against Malian interest.
A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Bamako, declared Mr Hamidou Boly, the leader of the delegation and the ECOWAS envoy, persona non grata and instructed them to leave the country within 72 hours of notice, starting from today, October 26.
In part, the statement noted that Mr Boly is undermining the transition team’s effort in the world of press, both locally and internationally; A conduct, the Junta is not happy about.
“The ECOWAS convoy engaged with groups, individuals from civil society from the world of politics, and even from the world of the press, who undertake actions hostile to the transition and which are not in line with its mission.”Junta’s statement
The move comes a day after a UN Security Council delegation left the country on a fact-finding mission. The mission led by Kenya’s ambassador to the U.N., Martin Kimani, who met with civil society organizations, groups that signed the peace agreement with Mali’s prime minister and transitional President, Col. Assimi Goita.
The UN said it supports the position of ECOWAS. Meanwhile, ECOWAS has since slammed sanctions on Mali over the recent coup and is demanding that the junta organise elections and hand over power by end of February next year to a civilian government.
However, the Malian government insists that it needs more time to conduct the elections. The government told the UN delegation during its visit that it would come up with its new timetable for the elections after a planned national consultation, which is slated for December.
“The Malian authorities have spoken to us about these meetings as a prerequisite for the elections. These meetings will take place in December.”Malian Government
Abdou Abarry, Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.N., who was a part of the delegation stated that, “We are not opposed to it, but only insist it does not delay the end of the transition and give Malians the opportunity to choose their leaders.”
ECOWAS is yet to make a comment on the latest development, which sent shockwaves in the West African region.
The Overthrow of President Boubacar Keita
Mali plunged into its current crisis in August, 2020, after soldiers led by Col Assimi Goita, overthrew the government of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Col Assimi Goita seized power in August 2020 by overthrowing Mali’s democratically elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who only served two years of his five-year term, after being re-elected in 2018. Earlier, the junta was forced to set up a civilian government in the face of sanctions by ECOWAS. Goita eventually agreed to a transitional government led by a civilian President, but ousted those leaders in May, after they announced a Cabinet reshuffle that side-lined two junta supporters without consulting him.
Goita was then sworn in as President of the transitional government in June. He pledged to keep the country on track to return to civilian rule with an election in February, 2022.
Since then, the country has been under ECOWAS sanction, with the bloc insisting on the transition government to hold election and transfer of power within the 18-month deadline that was initially issued.
Ghanaian President and chairman of the regional bloc, Nana Akufo-Addo, visited the country two weeks ago and reiterate the ECOWAS’s position.