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Tag Archives: 2012

The clock is ticking

On April 12th when Diacounda Traoré was sworn in as Mali’s interim President, the clock started ticking on his 40-day term. His responsibility was to plan when elections would be held and to help resolve the issues of the Northern region in terms of security and the refugees. Diacounda’s inauguration speech was punctuated with severe rhetoric against the rebels of the North, going so far as to even threaten war against them. 30 days into his term, one can clearly see that talk is cheap and that Diacounda has fulfilled very few of the promises that he stated when he was sworn in. This is another reason for Malians to continue to distrust the old guard that has watched over the politics of Mali for the last 20 years.

To be fair, I should say that his task is no easy task. The task remains difficult to reunite a country in which not only the North remains separated by the South, but where different political parties have been reaching out in different tangents. The situation has not been helped by a counter coup attempt by the ex-President’s loyalist forces. Nor has it been helped by threats from ECOWAS on deployment of an army of 3000 foreign soldiers on Mali’s soil to help gain the territory back but more importantly make sure the junta returns to the barracks. These threats have in effect gone against the April 6th agreement between the junta and ECOWAS and have caused great anger among the junta, who see the constitution of Mali being changed by foreigners and power quickly slipping away. By extending Diacounda’s 40-day mandate, the constitution that was quoted when the coup first happened, will in effect be violated. After the whole rigmarole about violating the constitution initially, it seems like a farce for it to now be violated to serve external preferences.

I have seen Diacounda do little in these 40 days other than meet with individuals that cannot influence the course of Mali’s future. The important task of gaining back Mali’s northern territories seem pushed to the back burner. Even more crucial, the refugee numbers have now swelled to 235,000+ with numbers getting higher each day. The US State Department has in effect stated that they hold the junta directly responsible for the mounting suffering of the Malian people.  While the junta has contributed to the issue, to blame them whole heartedly seems unfair. There have been many players who could be blamed for the situation in Mali: the old guard ATT, the politicians that have been on the scene for 20-30 years, the junta, the flip-flopping young politicians that go where the power is and also foreign interests.

Now, the one thing that might explain Diacounda’s relative lack of media presence is that the junta still controls the national TV. Each evening the screen is filled with events that seem to embolden the junta’s presence at community events. It is almost as if the stage is being set for them to take over when Diacounda’s 40 days is over. This is something the international community and especially ECOWAS (the body of African countries) would prefer not to happen. By establishing military rule, the junta would be returning the country to a similar period 20 years ago before democracy was established. The events in Mali have already proven that Mali’s democracy was a superficial one with leaders lining their pockets and fulfilling personal ambitions rather than truly answering the needs of those that put them in power. Captain Sanogo, the military leader, has already shown that he has the ability to gain the support from the Malian people that has lacked for so long. However, the constant quashing of the national TV does not bring any comfort and is an early indicator that dissenters could be silenced.

Just last week, I was headed to the PACP headquarters right by ex-Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe’s house. Modibo Sidibé was the one rumored to have stolen a lot of money and used even more to finance his Presidential campaign. He has already been arrested twice by the junta. As I was there, I saw few motorcycles carrying heavily armed guards. They were hunting for Modibo. The first thought that entered my mind was, “Why are you here. Should you not be in the North protecting your people?” It seems more and more that the junta is using the military to advance their personal protection and needs.

Nevertheless, the people of Mali remain embittered by the past 20 years of ineffective democracy and regardless many people see the junta as the lesser of two evils. Especially, since they provide a non-politically affiliated group that ended an ineffective democracy. Sanogo is viewed by many in Mali as a leader, and this is an impression that will not be dispelled anytime soon. I wouldn’t be surprised on May 22nd if the junta reclaims the Presidency and Sanogo remains in power till elections happen next year.

I cannot decide if this is a good thing or bad thing. While this is not an ideal solution, most other solutions will cause further unrest and delay a resolution to the important issues gripping the North. For now, Mali seems to be biding its time with Diacounda, waiting for a true leader to emerge to take the reins of the country. Hopefully the new transition leader will be one that makes more progress than the country has seen in the last 30 days with the least amount of unrest.

10 more days till the hourglass turns once again in Mali to begin the next phase towards determining Mali’s future.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Mali’s dilemma

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.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Orange skies

A picture taken at 10 in the morning.

For the past two mornings, Bamakois (people from Bamako) have woken up to an orange shade covering the entire city. It is such an unseen and unheard of phenomenon that I thought it blog worthy.

Yesterday as I and the kids played outside, I did not think or was not as affected by it. Today, however, things have taken a “dusty” perspective. The clothes hanging on the line gained a dust coat and even the leaves outside show a brown instead of the healthy green of two days ago. So where is this dust coming from? No one knows and Bamakois are a little perturbed.

Despite the strange weather pattern, PACP continues its onward goal to spread the word about their plans for Mali. A lot of good can come if Yeah becomes President. His plans for the education system, and healthcare system would bring relief to many Malians who need and deserve better health and jobs.

PACP meeting in Bamako

And while Mali’s problems can be resolved with stable, honest leadership, the dust storm looks like it’s here to stay a bit. This morning as we drove to school, we witnessed numerous motorists with their faces covered and young school children whose heads were covered with scarves. Even at Kean’s school, the usually filled playground was deserted. Hopefully this like all things will pass.

Makes you appreciate that breath of fresh air!

Carmen washing her bike after the dust storm hit last night

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Elections planned

Crazy "lovable" kids

Life in Mali seems to go on without much complaint. Keanen restarted school a week and half ago and thoroughly enjoys it. Even Carmen now is starting to ask when she will go to school, which is a change from a few months back, when the mere mention of the “s” word was enough to induce hysterics. The kids have settled into life in Mali or rather Mali has settled on them. They love the freedom of playing outside (despite the 115F weather) and the walks into the market to buy popsicles. They eat the food with no complaint and honestly seem to be enjoying the people they interact with on a daily basis. That is not to say they don’t miss Utah or the friends they left a year ago. They still talk about them and how they would like to go back and see them. And then the moment passes and they find themselves caught up in another activity or trip to the market. I think that I too have calmed down parent-wise. When I first came here, I worried about where they went and what they ate and how they did certain things. I have been able to trust the perspective what does not kill them will make them stronger. They are good kids, despite their healthy vocal cords and fighting, and I feel blessed to be able to spend time with them.

One of many meetings with community leaders

Yeah’s party PACP continues to remain politically active. Now more than ever given the political dilemma Mali finds itself in, it is essential to continue to spread the word about the party and what it stands for. Yesterday, party leaders Fomba and Kone did a leadership training so as to teach community leaders how to spread the word about PACP. By teaching community leaders, they in turn will spread the word and before you know it, there will be a domino effect.

On the political front things seem to be stabilizing. On April 27th, all the ECOWAS members met with the President of Mali and drew up the final installment agreement which decided on the elections and what to do in the North. A positive thing was that elections that were to happen today were decided would happen in 12 months. Two points of the agreement however caused much controversy in Mali today, namely:

  • “The Heads of State and Government decide to bring the transition in Mali over a period of 12 months, during which presidential elections should be held to choose a new President. The Summit also decided to extend the mandate of the transition bodies, including the Acting President, the Prime Minister and the Government over this period of 12 months to ensure, within the limits of the powers conferred on them by the Constitution, the continuity governance of the country.”
  • “The Heads of State and Government decide to take all necessary measures to help Mali in the restoration of its unity and territorial integrity. In this regard, the Heads of State and Government instruct the Commission to start with immediate effect, the deployment of the ECOWAS Standby accordance with the mandate approved.”

What the first point in effect is doing is ignoring the 40 day mandate of the constitution and stating that the interim President Diacounda would in essence serve for the coming 12 months. This has been the constant fear that Diacounda would try, like all other “old guard” politicians, to keep his position for longer. To be honest, there is little Malians have seen him do in the 30 years he held positions in the government. The last 10 days since his inauguration has seen him do even less. Other than his meeting with dignitaries, little has been done on his part (in my opinion) to bring the reunification of Mali. His actions belie someone who is unhurried by current circumstances. It is interesting that ECOWAS should ask that Diacounda remain in power for the term of 12 months. Interesting because Yeah had predicted this very thing would happen and a week ago had an article published that asked Diacounda, in the name of patriotism, to step aside after his remaining 20 days, to quick start the transition. (http://samake2012.com/updates/2012/04/le-coq-dioncounda-must-resign-in-the-name-of-patriotism-after-21-days-to-quick-start-the-transition-declared-yeah-samake-of-pacp/). Many political parties, including Yeah’s group ADPS quickly condemned the blatant disregard for the constitution. One cannot just decide to follow the parts of the constitution that are favorable and then change the parts that one doesn’t like. However, that is exactly what seems to be happening by allowing Diacounda to stay for more than his 40 days dictated by the constitution. Captain Sanogo, who led the March 21 coup, was quick to state in an address to the nation, how the junta would not allow such a violation of the April 6th framework agreement to happen. While it is a concern that the junta still seems to have a strong control over the national TV, it feels like the Malian people do have a protector that isn’t afraid to speak out and also let these power-hungry politicians know that Mali is the first priority and the policies that benefit Mali need to be followed.

The second point of day before yesterday’s agreement will allow foreign forces to conduct a military operation on Mali soil. This is a very sensitive issue. The entire problem has started in January with foreign rebels entering the Northern regions of Mali after the fall of Gaddafi, bringing weapons with them. By allowing ECOWAS to fight Mali’s fight with the rebels is continuing to feed the dependency that has made Mali and most African countries dependent on foreign aid. If a war must be fought, the charge has to be led by the Malian troops supported by the foreign forces in terms of weapons and logistics. These ECOWAS troops are not used to fighting in the desert conditions that are home to the rebels and such an operation could lead to the loss of more lives and more chaos.

Indeed it has been a couple of interesting days politically. But in some sense, you can almost see the young Malian politicians stand up and say to the “old guards”—No more. No more breaking the rules just to suit your power-hungry minds. No more putting self before country. No more sacrificing Mali’s sovereignty to please foreign interests. No more changing the constitution that was built on the 300 souls that perished in the previous coup. No more.

Mali is strong. The fight that is being fought is an essential one. Mali needs to find its own identity so that it may in turn hold its own among African nations. To have other nations build its democracy for it will only cause it to fail again.

Vive la démocratie! (Long Live Democracy), Vive le Mali! (Long Live Mali)

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Developments towards a sustainable democracy

As the political uncertainty hovers around Mali, the average Malian individual’s life has returned back to somewhat of a normalcy. It is not that people do not care. However, there are more important things for the average Malian than what is happening or not happening in central Bamako. Malians have been served a plate of misery and as long as their leaders don’t make their deplorable lifestyles even worse, they will usually not speak out. However, despite this, if one were to ask a Malian what they think about the situation currently, most Malians will just shake their heads in amazement as to how Mali will get out of this dilemma and which leader is honest and capable enough to help do it.

Part of the plan made between the political class of Mali and the junta in Burkina Faso was to choose a prime minister who would then choose a transitional government that would take the country one step closer to restoring democracy. Yesterday, the big announcement came that most of the political circle and international community was watching and waiting for. The announcement of the transitional government.

The agreement reached on April 6th between the ECOWAS and the junta was that the transitional government would be a national unity government. That is it would contain representatives from all national forces. This was not to be and the Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra created a 24-member government without consultation with the political parties, whose members had not served in the prior President’s cabinet.  The breakdown is 21 ministers and 3 deputy ministers. Of the 21 ministers, three army representatives close to military leaders who overthrew the government last month are part of this government. They hold three of the big posts namely, defense, interior and civil protection. 3 of the 21 ministers are women. The way the government was created has caused some unhappiness in the political circles, especially from the bigger parties that have ruled Mali’s political scene for many decades. There was a hope that some of their representatives would have been part of the new government and many of these parties had spent long weeks trying to sweeten the deal with the junta and then the Prime Minister. An interesting fact to note also is that most of these appointed individuals do not have a heavily involved political background. In addition a few have spent a majority of their time outside Mali and have ties to neighboring countries and international institutions.

The appointments are as follows:

1 – Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and international cooperation: Sadio Lamine SOW

Sadio, has had little political clout in Mali. His main role has been as an aide to Burkina Faso President Blaise Campaoré (the mediator assigned by ECOWAS to help with this crisis). He has worked a majority of his life outside Mali. Having this individual fill this role might come across as a conflict of interest given his close ties to another country’s President.

2 – Minister of economy, finance and Budget: Tiéna COULIBALY

Tiéna Coulibaly is better known in Mali as the Director of the Malian Textile Development Company (CMDT) and former Director of Mali’s Cotton Privatization Agency. Also interesting is that he held the same exact position under President Moussa Traoré, who was overthrown by ATT in the 1991 coup.

3 – Minister of defense and former combatants: Colonel – Major Yamoussa CAMARA (This is a post that is held by one of the junta’s people.)

4 – Minister of internal security and Civil Protection: General Tiéfing KONATE (Another post that is held by one of the junta’s people.)

5 – Minister of public service, governance and administrative reforms and policies, Chargé des Relations with Institutions: Namory TRAORE Mamadou

Dr. Namory TRAORE Mamadou has served as the National Director of Health in the past.

6 – Minister of Territorial Administration, decentralization and development of the territory: Colonel Moussa COULIBALY Sinko (Another post that is held by one of the junta.)

This is an important post given that this individual will work to ensure free and fair elections in all territories. Also this individual before this appointment was the junta leader’s chief of staff.

7 – Minister of trade, mines and industry: Ahmadou TOURE

Interesting fact is that M. Toure is the brother-in-law of the candidate of the URD, Soumaïla Cissé, who was arrested in the wave of arrests recently.

8 – Minister of Agriculture, breeding and fishing: Moussa SIDIBE Léo

M. Sidibe belongs to ADEMA, the same political party as the interim President. He served as the Secretary General for the Ministry of Agriculture under the previous administration.

9 – Minister of youth, labor, employment and vocational training: Mamadou DIAKITE

10 – Minister of health: Soumana MAKADJI

11 – Minister of Education, literacy and the Promotion of the national languages: Adama OUANE

12 – Minister of Justice, keeper of the seals: Malick COULIBALY

A change in what has become norm, M. Coulibaly has been a firm critic of judges and justice in Mali. His classmates from Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA Bamako) and colleagues recognize him as “a principled, honest, rigorous work.” His task will be to fight the corruption that has seeped deep into the government.

13 – Minister of Malians abroad and African integration: Ms. TRAORE Rokia GUIKINE

A career diplomat, Ms Traore was Ambassador of Mali to Gabon, technical advisor and director of international cooperation. Before her appointment, she was the secretary general of Soumeylou Boubèye Maiga, former Foreign Ministry.

14 – Minister of Humanitarian Action, solidarity and the elderly: Dr Mamadou SIDIBE

M. Sidibe was a former Director of Human Resources (HR) of Health, Social Development and Promotion of Women and Children. Given the travelling he has done as part of his previous roles, he is recognized as a connoisseur of the country. The expectation on him will be to assess the health and humanitarian situation in the North where the situation is dire.

15 – Minister of the family, the advancement of women and the child: Madam ALWATA Ichata SAHI

Madam Sahi is an active and influential member of the Women’s Movement in the ADEMA party. She also previously served as the African Representative for Afrique de l’ouest de l’Organisation Panafricaine des Femmes.

16 – Minister of energy, water and the environment: Alfa Bocar NAFO

 Served as CEO of the Regional Solidarity Bank (BRS).

17 – Crafts, Culture and Tourism Minister: Mrs. DIALLO Fadime TOURE

A sister-in-law of Madani Diallo, a prominent member of ADEMA and candidate in the 2002 presidential election.

18 – Minister of Communication, post and New Technologies: Hamadoun TOURE

Dr. Hamadoun Touré of Mali has been Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the specialized agency of the Nations dedicated to information and communication technologies (ICTs), since 2007. He was re-elected for a second four-year term in 2010. Also he was the spokesman for the United Nations mission in Côte d’Ivoire last year and is very close to Ivoirian President Alassane Ouattara.

19 – Minister of equipment, transport, housing and urbanism: Mamadou COULIBALY

20 – Minister of higher education and scientific research: Harouna KANTE

21 – Minister of sport: Hameye Founé MAHALMADANE

M. MAHALMADANE was previously the secretary general of the Free Trade Union of Magistrates (SYLMA) and a very active campaigner against the constitutional reforms initiated by former President Amadou Toumani Toure.

22 – Minister delegate to the Minister of economy, finance and the Budget, Chargé du Budget: Marimpa SAMOURA

23 – Minister delegate to the Minister of the public service, responsible for policy reforms and Relations with Institutions: Yacouba DIALLO

24 – Minister delegate to the Minister of youth, labor and employment and vocational training, responsible for youth and vocational training: Bruno MAÏGA

It will be interesting to watch and see how this new government will operate. While it is interesting to note the lack of political know how of the appointees, it will also be refreshing to not have individuals that have been soaked in bad policies and corruption.  Corruption remains one of the biggest challenges in Malian government and is one of the reasons that ATT lost favor during the last few years. There does seem to be a few players and connections from ADEMA, which lends the perception that the interim president Diacounda Traoré might have pushed the vote in certain party affiliated individual’s directions.

The aim of this transitional government is to set a date for fair and free elections and in essence help the Prime Minister run the government until elections can be held.

Things are progressing in the right direction. The coup has opened up the possibility for Mali to root out the inefficiencies and corruption that was making Mali a democracy in name alone. The hope is that once our territories are returned and our people come back home in the North, then elections can be held that will allow the people to once again choose their leader.

Yeah has said, ““The junta has given us the opportunity to change Mali,” adding that the coup of March 22 exposed the political dysfunction in Mali. Through this crisis, democracy must be rebuilt on a solid foundation. “If we miss this opportunity, the castle of Malian democracy will still grow on the same sand that made it collapse,” Yeah has said. This objective will be achieved when “the old guard agrees to make way for the new generation,” he concluded.

Sounds like the needful is happening. Small steps to a bigger, hopefully better future.

Some recent articles in the news:

  1. Canard Dechaine( in French): Niankoro Yeah Samake, president of the PACP: “We will not accept that Mali is untrustworthy”
    1. English version click here
  2. Zero Hora( Brazilian Newspaper): Interview with Yeah
    1. English version click here
  3. India West: Wife of Malian Presidential Candidate Encourages Democracy
 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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The price of conflict

Mali’s present and future. The children celebrate a new school that will be built because of @YeahSamake work with building schools

For many weeks now, I have watched the internal crisis develop in Mali and throw the country into disarray. Many sectors have been affected as the junta dismantled any leadership that governed the different bodies that make up the country. Last week, the country saw the first real sign of returning back to pre-coup time as a new Prime Minister was named. However, the damage has been done and 20 years of democracy crushed in an instant of loss of control cannot be undone as easily.

So far little has been heard from the interim President Diacounda Traoré, in terms of what he is doing to get the country back on track. His term ends in about a month and his job is to do the things that will prepare the country for elections. A big part of that job involves the reunification of Mali and regaining the three lost territories. The job of the Prime Minister is to announce a transitional government. The PM and the transitional government will govern the country till elections happen. Any participant in the transitional government is not eligible to run in the elections. In the past week, there have been many arrests of key figures by the junta with the accusation that there was a threat to national security. The next day these individuals were released as the international community and political figures in Mali spoke out. These kinds of acts add a little uncertainty as to the junta’s role. I am not saying these individuals should not have been arrested but to play this game of catch and release not only destabilizes the community but also makes the whole thing a joke. Right now, the focus should remain on the return of governmental bodies back to a semblance of normalcy. That is what Malians want above all.

Mali has paid a heavy price for the actions of the top political figures. To begin with the “old guards” that allowed Mali to be taken advantage of in return for money/favors. Then the individuals that sat back and let it happen. And finally the junta that caused enough instability and weakness that part of Mali was lost. With the coup came change. As the rebels took over the North, many fled to escape the imposition of Sharia and also the unknown. As the junta made decisions, the international community watched as to how things would work out. Embassies pulled their non-emergency people out. Schools lost many pupils and even my son’s French school has started to look like a shanty town. European stores and restaurants saw a sharp drop in customers and hinted at the reducing expatriate population. The biggest loss however was of humanitarian NGOs that were operating in the different regions of the country. With the increasing uncertainty, many NGOs departed the Northern regions.

What I would like to say is, now more than ever, is that Mali needs all the humanitarian aid it can get. Most Malians get by on less than $1/day. Most can barely even make a $1. Today, I was approached by twin boys about 6 years old that looked no older than 4 because of their size. They came to me and told me they were hungry. My first reaction, as I looked around for their mother, was why you are out here asking for money. Where are your parents? And then I realized when parents cannot provide, then all the family are forced by their circumstances to make the little they can by begging.

I would like to send a message to all the people who read this. My message to NGOs is that Mali does have a future. They need all the help they can get. Now is not the time to abandon aid or run away. Now is the time to protect your investment and trust the Malians to stand by your side as they protect it with you. My message to aid organizations is not to let Mali down. Stay! Help the people. Continue to work in the community making a difference. Our children do need schools and teachers. The women do need to learn self-sufficiency through microenterprise and that they are strong individuals who can be part of a successful Mali. The current situation has hit the common man even more as they struggle to make ends meet. My plea to the international community is to help. Help a fellow brother, sister, mother, father and family. Do not fear that your investment will be in vain. Help because you can and because it will make a difference. Support organizations like UNHCR as they help the refugees. We can make a difference as individuals. The Malian people need your help.

Continue to keep this great nation in your prayers. Pray that they may be blessed with good leaders that put Mali’s needs first. Pray that aid organizations may continue to operate helping nurse back Mali’s failing infrastructure. Then, please spread the word about Mali and how to help. Contact your local organizations and see what they are doing to make a difference.

I am very grateful for all the wonderful support we have received and continue to receive. Mali has many friends and we are grateful that there are so many out there that do care about Mali’s present so that Mali may have a future. Thank you and may God bless all your efforts.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Small steps in the right direction

ADPS members Nouhoum Sa and Fomba watch on as Yeah exchanges a few words with Pres. Campaore

The meetings of this past weekend were a step in the right direction. Yeah and his team ADPS made sure that preserving Mali’s sovereignty was foremost as they headed to a weekend full of conferences with President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Campaoré, who has been appointed the official mediator by ECOWAS. Since the first part of the ECOWAS agreement had been honored by instituting interim President of Mali Diacounda Traoré, it was essential to discuss how Mali would now move forward. Diacounda’s primary responsibility is to reunite the country by regaining Mali’s 3 lost regions. The conference was filled with 78 members representing the different stakeholders in Mali. The conference provided a stage for political parties and representatives of the civil society to discuss their views on a number of topics including the territorial integrity of Mali, the transitional authorities, the duration of the interim presidency, and the authority that will make the choice of the Prime Minister to lead that the transitional government.

I am not going to lie and say that everyone had the same expectations.  Some of the participants were under the impression that the conference would designate the PM and members of the transitional government. However, it was more important to decide logistics before suggesting and appointing people. It was honestly a nice change to see somewhat of a democracy in action as leaders discussed what would best serve Mali in terms of leadership.

Yeah advised that the current interim President should not be able to name the next Prime Minister. If given that ability, Diacounda would have the power to put someone affiliated to his political party and potentially cause unneeded bias, especially at this sensitive time. It will be important for a non-partisan body to choose the Prime Minister. The only non-partisan body at this time is the junta. Hence, that role was given them and they will be tasked with choosing the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister in turn will be responsible to lead his transitional government before elections takes place.

So who is the new PM? The new PM announced just 30 minutes ago is Cheick Modibo Diarra, Microsoft’s Africa Corporation chairman and a former NASA astrophysicist. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheick_Modibo_Diarra). He was also a Presidential candidate for the 2012 elections. This could be either good for the country or really bad. Diarra lacks the political experience having no role in the political circle but might be what is needed to bind the differing political parties and views together in a strong transitional government that can lead the country till elections.

The agenda in Burkina contain essential promises and decisions that will affect the future of Mali. I can’t believe this all started less than a month ago. Mali has seen three different Presidents (ATT, Sanogo and now Diacounda) in a matter of 27 days. Now more than ever, Mali and Malians need to feel some stability return to the country. The country looks like it’s getting back on the track of democracy. And that is the right direction!

For those interested, the agreement (translated) made and acknowledged by all parties in Burkina Faso is as follows:

SOLEMN DECLARATION PROJECT BY THE VITAL FORCES OF MALI

The Conference of Active Forces of the Republic of Mali met in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, under the auspices of His Excellency Blaise Campaoré, President of Burkina Faso, and the mediator of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Malian crisis.

Welcoming the Framework Agreement of 6 April 2012 on the implementation of the solemn declaration of the President of the National Committee for the relief of Democracy and Restoration of the State (CNRDRE) from 1 April 2012 on the return to constitutional order;

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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