Mali currently stands on the cusp of a big decision to be made. On one side, a deal favored by ECOWAS would be to allow interim President Dioncounda Traoré to serve the next 12 months as President of the transitional government. On the other side, would be to choose a new president during the transition. Mali remains divided on this decision. Many would prefer Dioncounda to leave office on May 22nd as per the Malian constitution. To many, Dioncounda is a reminder of the “old guard” that allowed things to get so bad in Mali, a reminder that Malians would soon like to put behind them.
On May 21st, in response to a forced decision by ECOWAS to have Dioncounda serve as a transitional President, tens of thousands of protesters marched on the palace and brought harm to Dioncounda, who had to be admitted to hospital for head injuries.
Analysis from Presidential Candidate: N. Yeah Samaké
Yeah has always maintained that the solution to Mali needs to come from inside the country. In a Voice of America interview, he said: “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”.
In response to today’s violence, Yeah stated: “These acts are condemnable. However may it serve as a lesson that there needs to be a concerted effort at a solution that is acceptable to all Malians, who believe the act of choosing a President is a sovereign decision. After the violent reactions to the decision made by ECOWAS, we can anticipate a number of outcomes:
1) Follow the status quo decision keeping Dioncounda as the president of the transitional government as his term as interim President ends today. This means that ECOWAS will choose the interim President who will ultimately honor all agreements during the transitional power. The advantage of this decision will save Mali and ECOWAS from the daunting task of bringing Malians together to have a consensual President. It is also conducive to a quick return to an acceptable, seemingly acceptable constitutional order that is a pre-requisite for involvement of the international community. The drawback of the decision would be the sustainability of the solution beyond the 12 months transition. This decision excludes the participation of political leaders who are ultimately going to become the decision makers to upload the agreements made during the next 12 months.
2) The consensual decision. This implies the organization of a national convention that Sanogo and several political players have called for. This will allow for a consensual transitional body that will be accepted by all involved parties. This alternative will ensure a more stable transition supported by all the stakeholders. As a drawback this option may not be warmly received by the international community. As a result, Mali may continue to receive sanctions imposed by bilateral and multilateral partners such as ECOWAS, US, France, World Bank and the IMF. Ultimately the withdrawal of this support would cripple the country from the capacity to resolve the rebellion in Northern Mali.
3) An elected transition President as suggested by ADPS. ADPS is formed with 14 other political parties and their solution would allow Malian political leaders, civil society, and the junta soldiers to be proportionally represented in a 30-person body. Seven representatives of the military, 18 represented from the political parties and five from civil society. This 30-person body will elect the transitional president in their midst excluding the military representatives. This alternative would take the longest to achieve. It may also not receive the blessings of the international community. However the outcome would be the most compatible with the constitutional order. This alternative will offer the most legitimate form of leadership, where the president is actually elected and the remaining 29 members form the legislative body. The legislative body will replace the current Assembly that is reaching the end of its term. This option will resolve the unpopular decision to prolong the term limits of the Assembly which violates the constitution.
So which one is the best option for the Malian people? At the end of the day, Mali as a whole represented by leaders of civil and political society need to come together and decide. Mali’s future cannot be planned by other leaders and countries who are driven by foreign agendas. This solution has to be about the best for Mali and Mali alone.
Yeah would certainly love to hear your comments on which alternative would be your pick.
May 22, 2012 at 18:52
It seems the problem is the “Transitional Government” and how to implement/limit it.
Why not just go ahead with the presidential election in the near future and remove that problem?
What’s the point of of delaying the election for a year?
Get on with having the democratic process elect a new official president and be done with it!
That seems it will get your country back to normalcy more quickly and then enable you to be better equipped to deal with the northern problems.
Warm regards, Jim
May 25, 2012 at 18:24
Jim, thank you for your suggestion. The issue here remains the North. Mali cannot hold elections without 3 regions. Any leader that is chosen by excluding the three regions will never truly be accepted by Malians. In addition, the North is comprised of many ethnic groups and by excluding them, it would be a symbol of Malians abandoning their own. For now, the transitional government’s job is to oversee getting the Northern issue figured out.
May 26, 2012 at 04:58
Yeah, I understand. It’s a difficult situation.
But what if the rebellion in the north goes on “for years?” Which is entirely possible.
It just seems that a resolution would be easier with a formal government in place. The longer there is turmoil, the less stability it appears there would be. Two presidents have basically been deposed in the last 4 months (one in the hospital, as a result). People are frustrated and tired of corrupt inept leadership.
If a good leader could be elected right away (you) using the regions where there “could” be balloting held, and the country stabilized as a result… the contentious citizens all over the nation (including the non-voting areas) might settle down. If they saw good things happening from the new administration, there would likely be support and cooperation.
To try and carry on with a weak ineffective transitional (not officially recognized) team, would be akin to anarchy… and itself might precipitate more problems.
And how can the military fight the rebels in the north if they don’t have the total support of an official Malian government. The Tuaregs will see it as a sign of weakness and push harder to overcome.
Since the northern tribes want their independence, any instability in Bamako will only reinforce that desire. On the other hand, if they see good things coming out of the South, they may want to stay associated with you all…
We’re praying for you to be inspired, as all great men have been in times of trouble.
Warm regards, Jim
May 22, 2012 at 19:52
I vote for option three