As yesterday night passed, so did a deal between ECOWAS and the junta. The consensus concurred with the old constitution that the head of the National Assembly would be named as Mali’s next President. The deal came amidst mounting pressure placed on the junta by economic sanctions.
Within two weeks Mali has not only been further weakened but the number of regions it presides over has been reduced by three. AQIM (an Al-Qaeda branch) and the MNLA have taken over the main regions of Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou. The Tuareg claim is one that has been consistent for the past 50 years going back to when this ethnic group requested their French colonizers to grant them an independent territory. With the return of Gaddhafi’s fallen soldiers that originally hail from Mali, arms have made their demands more attainable. Confusion in the South allowed these groups to take over these three regions in a period of 3 days.
This agreement that installs the head of the National Assembly, 70-year old Diacounda, has been received with a mixture of feelings. Diacounda is himself a Presidential candidate and had been pursued by the junta for his alliance with ATT. Malians in general, while they would not want him as a leader, I think, are glad that the sanctions have been lifted. Two weeks after it started and 1 month before elections were set to happen, one could say that the coup seems almost pointless. My concern however is that coups do not happen for “no” reason. They happen because there is an issue within the government. By installing an “old guard”-one from ATT’s regime that allowed many of ATT’s law to pass the legislative body unquestioned, the issue is not being resolved, merely being brushed over because the world says it’s time for the coup to be over. By not resolving the very reason that the coup happened, which is the government’s inabilities and shortcomings in dealing with corruption and the lack of a well-prepared army, we are setting ourselves up for failure. However all Mali can do at this point is to move forward. Yeah will continue to work with his team ADPS to ensure that the voice of the people is heard in the transitional government and that individuals are instituted in the interim that have Mali’s best interest.
So what does this new deal mean for Mali? The good things are that Mali will get the international help it desperately needs right now. Humanitarian conditions are worsening and in the regions captured Malians are being forced under a rule of terror and religious law. We are thankful that our African neighbors are willing to provide boots on the ground to fight the rebels of the North and free our people that are being oppressed. Another good thing is sanctions are being lifted and the economy once again will breathe a sigh of relief as the flow of goods is restored. On the other hand, no time line has been set in place, on when the change of power will happen. The junta promise that it will be soon. Also, the agreement hints it might be impossible to hold elections within 21-40 days as dictated by the constitution because of the attacks on Mali’s territorial integrity. Before elections can be held, territories need to be regained or let go. To clarify, the regions of Tombouctou, Gao and Kidal do not just hold a Tuareg population. These regions hold a higher percentage of Songhai and Peul. So to allow these territories to just “go” as some countries are suggesting would be to deny citizenship to certain ethnicities that have been part of Mali for centuries.
All in all there are some steps in the right direction. It is a hope that the humanitarian crisis will end soon and our brothers and sisters in Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou may once again be free. Within the weeks to come the date of the election will be established as a transitional government is put in place.
The election will go forward. Please continue to show your support at www.samake2012.com. We need you with us as we continue this historic journey. Spread the word, the campaign continues! The spirit of democracy in Mali that is Samake2012 lives on!
For those interested, the agreement (translated into English) reads as:
Whereas a return to constitutional normality requires compliance with the constitution of 25 February 1992 which, in Article 36 organizes the Acting President of the Republic in case of vacancy or incapacity.
Recalling that Article 36 provides that, “When the President of the Republic is temporarily unable to fulfill his duties; his powers shall be provisionally exercised by the Prime Minister.
In case of a vacancy of the Presidency of Republic for some unforeseen, disruptive cause that is an absolute or unavoidable obstacle, noted by the Constitutional Court, and the President of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, the functions of the President of the Republic shall be carried out by the President of the National Assembly.
A new process for election of a new president for a new period of five years shall then commence.
The election of the new President shall take place between twenty-one and forty days after the official recognition of the vacancy or preventative obstacle.
In every case of a preventative obstacle or vacancy, Articles 38, 41, 42, and 50 shall not be applied.”
The ECOWAS Mediator and the National Committee of Adjustment and Democracy in the Restoring state (CNRDRE) agreed to adopt this framework agreement implementation of the solemn commitment of April 1, 2012 which reads follows.
Chapter 1: IMPLEMENTATION of the provisions of Article 36 of the Constitution
The President of the Republic officially resigns from office
The Chairman of CNRDRE accordance with its statutory declaration of 1 April 2012 triggers the implementation of section 36 of the Constitution of 25 February 1992.
Accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Constitution, the President of the National Assembly and Prime Minister ask the Constitutional Court for a declaration of the resignation of the power vacuum.
The Constitutional Court, in reference to the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Constitution confirms the vacancy of the Presidency;
President of the National Assembly is vested by the Constitutional Court as President of the Republic acting, with a mission to organize presidential elections within the constitutional period of 40 days.
Chapter II: Establishment of organ transition
Given the exceptional circumstances facing the country, because of the institutional crisis and armed rebellion in the north, which seriously affect the regular functioning of the institutions of the Republic and the impossibility of organizing within forty days as stipulated in the constitution, it is essential to organize a political transition that will lead to free elections, democratic and transparent throughout the national territory.
In the circumstances mentioned in article 5 above, the signatories to this agreement agree to set up organs of transition charged with driving the transition process to the organization of presidential elections and agrees to all:
a) A transitional Prime Minister, Head of Government, with full powers and whose mission is to lead the transition, manage the crisis in northern Mali to organize the first free elections, democratic and transparent, according to a leaf road, will be designated.
b) A national unity government transition, composed of personalities consensual and responsible for setting the roadmap for ending the crisis in place;
c) The Government of National Unity will work is the implementation of humanitarian assistance;
d) The parties in consultation with all stakeholders adopt a roadmap for the transition include:
• The time and the timing of the transition;
• The operational tasks to be done by the different organs of transition i.e a peaceful transition;
• The procedure for elections to organizations has the final normalization of the situation;
• The revision of the electoral register;
e) The role and place of the members of CNRDRE during the transition process will be defined.
Chapter III-Adoption of legislative measures accompanying
Under exceptional circumstances that existed in the country because of war first to allow the organization of elections in good conditions drive the whole country, to strengthen social cohesion and national unity, a number of legislation accompanying the transition process will be votes by the national assembly.
a) A general amnesty law for members of CNRDRE and their associates;
b) A law awarding compensation to victims of war and the insurrection of 22 March 2012;
c) A law extending the mandate of deputies to the end of the transition;
d) A law on the first orientation program for the needs of military organization and equipment of the Army;
e) A law establishing a Military Committee to monitor the reform of forced defense and security.
The National Committee of Adjustment and Democracy Restoration of the State (CNRDRE) will honor this Agreement; with the ECOWAS Mediator and with the support of the international community.
Of signatures to this Agreement, the current Chairman of ECOWAS will make arrangements for the lifting of sanctions against Mali that were made in the summit of March 29, 2012.
Given the very worrying humanitarian situation the current Chairman of ECOWAS will make available to Mali, humanitarian assistance funds and solicit technical and financial partners of Mali and adequate humanitarian assistance of the international community.