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Mali: a new bill to strengthen the powers of the head of the junta

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The text adopted Friday evening in the Council of Ministers aims the abolition of the post of vice-president [de la transition] to avoid duplication of missions and allow the Minister responsible for Defense and the Minister responsible for Security to recover and exercise the fullness of their traditional powers. Colonel Goïta would find himself the only master on board.

The bill was published the day after the government convened the National Transitional Council (CNT), the military-appointed legislative body, for a session starting Friday, February 4, to revise the transition charter and the electoral law. The start date of the session National Transitional Council was not specified.

The new text also covers increasing the number of members from National Transitional Council (currently 121 members) to further strengthen inclusiveness around the state refoundation project and an adaptation of the duration of the transition to the recommendations of the National Conferencesaccording to the press release published on Saturday which does not give more details on this duration.

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The National meetingspresented as consultations prior to elections and a return of civilians to power in Mali, proposed in December in Bamako to extend the current transition of the military junta from six months to five years.

Regional pressures

The bill is published in a context of arm wrestling between the colonels, authors of two putschs in August 2020 then in May 2021 and the West African states.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) took on January 9 a battery of vigorous economic and diplomatic measures against Mali to sanction the intention of the junta to remain in power for several more years, after the two putschs.

In particular, they suspended, with immediate effect, all commercial and financial transactions of the Member States with Mali, excluding consumer products and basic necessities.

The colonels, authors of the two putschs, did not keep their initial promise to organize on February 27 next a presidential election and legislative elections which would have brought civilians back to the head of the country.

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Since 2012, Mali has been the scene of operations by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization, and violence of all kinds perpetrated by self-proclaimed self-defense militias and bandits. The regular forces are themselves accused of abuses.

The violence that started in the north in 2012 spread to the center, then to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. They caused thousands of civilian and military deaths as well as hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, despite the deployment of UN, French and African forces.

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