Mali is once again experiencing its moment of uncertainty caused by the issues of the last few days. On April 30th, loyalist forces clashed with the junta of Mali in an attempt to push out of power the junta. The attempt was less than successful and brought about more bloodshed than even the original mutiny. In the initial mutiny, there was a report (unverified) of 3 presidential guards dying but no harm to civilians. However the latest unrest brought about the death of civilians and injury to many more.
In addition to the sad loss of life, the deeper underlining issue is the difficulty it brings for an already struggling Mali. Mali now has an interim President, a Prime Minister and the transitional government of 24 individuals. It was interesting to note how during this past week of unrest, no word was heard from Diacounda, the interim President. In fact all discussions and addresses to the nation were conducted by the Prime Minister Diarra and the Ministers over the sectors affected by the unrest. It’s almost like Diacounda is sending a message that he does not intend on staying past his 40 days despite what most ECOWAS leaders are pushing for. Time only will tell. His term expires around May 20th. Any attempts on his part or the West African bloc ECOWAS to lengthen his term will only add to the unrest as doing so will cause a change to the constitution that calls for a 40 day term for the interim President.
The other issue that concerns me is the continuing growing refugee situation in the North. The first semblance of aid on a large scale is starting to be seen. It is the hope that as more and more organizations donate, the aid will reach its intended destination. The rebels in the North have continued their attack on basic rights and the three territories of Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou remain hostage. There has been little discussion on what will be done to regain these territories. The only talk I have heard of this is from ECOWAS that want to send in military troops and the junta that are adamantly refusing to allow foreign troops on Mali soil. While it is great that the ECOWAS team would like to send reinforcements, the concern remains about foreigners fighting on Mali soil. In addition, these troops are not up to the task of fighting in the desert. Plus what message does this encourage? This in essence encourages the same evil loop as foreign aid. Once you get into it and someone else controls the effort, there is no need for the population/leaders to themselves be held accountable. I am not saying that we don’t need the ECOWAS help. Logistics and weapons are two things that have been denied the Malian army. Our so called army is defenseless and sending them into war currently is as good as signing their death warrant. However, action needs to be taken soon. To let this fester is to allow the rapes and the imposition of Sharia to continue. To sit back and watch is to give permission to rebels to continue the reign of terror. Something must be done to free our people in the North.
There are meetings that are set to happen between the current leadership, the junta and ECOWAS to discuss how the transition will move forward. Discussions need to happen between all players in the crisis but it is important that the end goal of Mali’s sovereignty and peace not be compromised any further.
Yeah continues to work hard to increase the awareness of the basic freedoms that are being denied to our Malian brothers and sisters. He is currently in the US meeting with individuals and American leaders to raise awareness on the situation in Mali. Yeah said in a recent Voice to America interview: ““Mali needs its partners, but we need to make sure that this is a Malian solution. We cannot make this solution outside of Mali [because] that will be an imposition. We don’t want that and it is not going to be a lasting solution..The people of Mali need to come together and define the terms of how the country should be run during the transition.” (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Path-to-Restoring-Malis-Democracy-Set-Back-Says-Politician-149761235.html)
Mali cannot afford for this to go wrong any further. Mali deserves its break now. Continue to keep Mali and all Malians embroiled in this crisis in your prayers.
May 5, 2012 at 13:22
Thank you, Marissa, for all the information you share. Is there anything US citizens can do to call more attention to this crisis? Should we contact the State Department?
May 12, 2012 at 21:42
Ginny, I appologize I did not see this comment sooner. It’s funny you should ask this. That is exactly what Yeah is doing on the East Coast this week to discuss Mali’s political future. I think the place we can be great spokes people is in the refugee situation. True the government has stopped aid to Mali, but why not redirect that aid to UNHCR and the Red Cross that is working in North Mali.