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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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Diorila welcomes back a local favorite

As Team Samake arrived in the village, they were greeted by a horde of children and villagers who enthusiastically followed Yeah to the stage for the rally.

A large group of drummers welcomed Yeah while a man, wearing an intricately designed mask with beautiful red beadwork, danced.

There were about 150 people in attendance, including all of the excited children. As the event began, there were various dances performed by the women and the men in their own individual circles. Culturally, Malian men and women do everything separately in public. Our friend James and intern Kyle joined the African men by dancing with them in the circle. Check out their interesting contribution:

Numerous other performances were given by the drummers. The village chief then proceeded to introduce Yeah and other party members. Yeah eloquently spoke once again of a new day for Mali. After Yeah finished speaking, a special performance was given by local talent Petit Ballo who wrote a song about Yeah Samake. His support has brought an even greater enthusiasm to our campaign!

Petit Ballo performs

Listen to the song by Petit:


After the rally, Team Samake walked over to the MRF built middle school, Sue Taylor Middle School of Diorila, to visit with the children and see the condition of the school. The children were excited and crowded around the windows and every opening of the school. The people were excited to see the return of Yeah and anxious to see what else he could do for their village.

After lunch, which was generously provided by the villagers, there was a soccer game sponsored by PACP in a neighboring commune. The mayor welcomed Yeah. There were about 80 people in attendance. The imam and Chief of the village welcomed Yeah with a speech of support. Yeah’s councilor Broulaye Doumbia spoke to the people about Yeah and his accomplishments. He spoke fondly of Yeah’s character and courage to help his country.

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The events were short but served its purpose of reminding the villages in this area of what Yeah has already done for them and can continue to do if he is elected President.


Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Past Posts


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Mandé welcomes PACP and Yeah Samaké

Mamadou Coulibaly wanted to help the Samaké2012 campaign in Mali. The one hitch was that he was in New York. So what did he do? He left a job for a month and came to Mali to campaign in the remote villages. The product of his success was experienced in Mandé.

Mandé is a commune in Kati, which is in the Koulikoro Region of south-western Mali. Here the villages are still built in the traditional way, the scenery is beautiful and the Malinké, very welcoming.

As PACP reached Mandé, a large group met them outside the outskirts of the commune and welcomed them in. A group of community leaders, dressed as gunmen, marched ahead and sounded their guns periodically as they entered Mandé. A kora (an ancient Malian musical instrument) was played as the party leaders settled down. Under the shade of baobab trees, a huge crowd of 300 people had gathered from the surrounding 19 villages. As is traditional, dancing celebrated PACP and Yeah’s arrival to the commune. As the community leaders sat down on fur mats, the show began.

Procession of gunmen welcome PACP

Kora players--Such beautiful music

To begin, two men in feather headdresses performed impressive jumps for their appreciative audience. These two men then proceeded, one at a time, to travel around the circle, bent over leaning on two thin sticks, and dance to the beat of the drum, directly in front of the audience, particularly the community and party leaders. In addition, four young girls impressed Team Samaké as they performed army-like squats and jump routines in addition to moving rhythmically with the drums as an older woman chanted. Music forms an essential part of key ceremonies in Mali and is used as a form of welcome for important visitors. With PACP this was no exception. The people of Mandé were excited to meet the man who for weeks they had heard, from Mamadou Coulibaly, nothing but good about.

One of the men in feather headdresses dances in a circle balanced on sticks

Mandé dancers

PACP is a representation of what Mali deserves and a promise of what Malian people will get if they elect Yeah Samaké. The community leaders were very receptive of the party’s message of hope. Secretary General Fomba spoke of the importance of voting and how the people of Mandé are indeed an essential component of a successful Mali. He proudly spoke of Yeah’s achievements and reiterated that Yeah could indeed fulfill their needs. One of the things Mandé really needs right now is a water source. Currently, villagers will walk to surrounding villages to get clean water. Yeah then spoke. He spoke with passion of the need of the villagers to empower themselves. Through decentralization, it will become possible for villagers to become responsible for the policies that govern them. Yeah then distributed 15 boxes filled with notebooks, pencils, office tools, and other school supplies to the commune, which were received with gratitude. At the end of this grand ceremony, the man behind putting it together, Mamadou Coulibaly spoke. He spoke of the vision that PACP is and the good that Yeah could do if given a chance. PACP awarded him a Samaké2012 button to symbolize the service he has done.  He has truly been a great asset to Team Samaké.

The rally ended with a bang! The villagers performed, to the beat of the drum, some more freestyle African dances for Team Samaké.

This commune of Mandé represents a small part of Mali that is hoping for change. There are many villages and communes like Mandé that hope their next President can bring a social and economic change to Mali. Things that we take for granted like running water and electricity are things unknown and wanted in Mali. It is the hope that Yeah can bring the structure and growth that Mali needs. Please support us so that Malians everywhere can get the basic things to survive. Malians are not asking for a hand out, they just need a hand up. Please extend your hand any way you can in terms of financial or verbal support at and together let us give our fellow Malians a hand up.

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This event was also reported by reporter Yaya Samaké in the Malian newspaper 22Septembre:,49891.html

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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Past Posts


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Youth Leadership Meeting, Commune V in Bamako welcomes PACP and a treat!

Youth Leadership Meeting

The youth from the different districts of Bamako came to listen to the PACP President speak of his vision for a stable, prosperous Mali. The youth represent an essential part of the voting block. Believe it or not, only 38% of the voting population voted in the 2007 elections. In a country of 14 million people, that is not only astonishing but also disappointing to see the lack of democratic responsibility. However when one sees the state of education, the economy and healthcare, one can truly understand how voting is the last thing on someone’s mind. The stakes, however, are even higher this time. With unemployment hovering at unimaginable numbers ( reported at 13%, but in actuality a lot higher), and the education system riveted with strikes currently, the Malian youth are suffering. Yeah spoke to the vision that PACP stands for. The PACP charter emphasizes the values of patriotism, citizenship, decentralization, freedom, democracy, human rights, and good governance. As Yeah spoke, his audience of youth remained quiet and attentive. He reiterated the need for Malians to come together and work towards a stable government. He also showed where Ouelessebougou was 3 years ago and where it stood today as one of the top ten cities instead of the bottom five. All this is possible for Mali. However Malians need a strong leader that is not afraid to take on the old system of corruption and self-service. This was an amazing meeting and an important one at that. It is the hope that the Malian youth will believe in their strength and voice. Their presence at the polls will be essential not only to PACP’s success but also to determining which leader will lead them to a brighter future.

Commune V(Five) in Bamako welcomes PACP

As the hot Malian sun bore down, about 100 Malians gathered in Commune V. The guest of honor was PACP President and Presidential hopeful Yeah Samaké. Surrounded by other party members, Yeah was welcomed by youth leaders in the commune. Also we had special guests from Utah, James and Shelby Arrington. James and Shelby are simply one of the sweetest couples we know and we are very ecstatic that they would come all this way to visit and lend their services on the campaign trail in Mali.

Welcome Sign

Commune V Supporters

Bandiougou Soumaro

Mali's future

Party representative Bandiougou Soumaro, spoke highly of Yeah’s accomplishments and the hope that Malians could count on if they wanted a better life with more opportunities. This like all other rallies was accompanied by music and dancing. Some of the music was specific to Yeah’s accomplishments. I can’t still comprehend how a person can sing impromptu like that. The words just flow out of their mouths. We were then invited to witness a rare treat. James believes so much in this campaign that he has kindly allowed us to publish this in the hopes of raising money for Samake2012.I will let the videos below speak for themselves.

These two events are yet another indication of the growing support among Malians. Please support us at and help me bring the stability and the leadership that Mali desperately needs.

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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Past Posts


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PACP meetings in Dialakoroba and Badalabougou

As Yeah was the in the Dominican Republic, the PACP team headed by Fomba, Secretary General headed towards Dialakoroba around 10 am. Their purpose was to inaugurate the setup of the PACP committee there. Dialakoroba is situated halfway between Ouelessebougou and Bamako. The meeting was excellent!

The start of the meeting was highlighted by a momentary pause in honor of Yeah’s brother Moussa Samake that had passed away. After this, Fomba greeted the supporters. He spoke of PACP and why the party wanted the assistance of Dialakoroba. About 100 community leaders were present. Fomba focused on the youth of Dialakoroba. The youth have in a strong statement of support abandoned their own party PDES to join PACP. PDES is the party that supported the current President Amadou Toumani Toure. So this move is indeed symbolic and important.

Then Kane, another party member, showed the new logo of PACP and explained what it stood for so that people could easily recognize it at the polling stations. In Mali, with the illiteracy rate so high, it is essential for people to see the logo so that they can recognize it easily. The new logo is of a sunrise and is symbolic in its representation of a new day in Mali (Un Nouveau Jour Pour Mali).

Other party members spoke of strategy that the new committee could use to increase reach into the surrounding communities. There was also a representative that came from the nearby village of Sanakoroba where a PACP committee already exists. He spoke very kindly of PACP and its possible impact if Yeah is elected. In addition, Kalise, Karim and Solo, those who know Yeah best as he was growing up, spoke of Yeah’s life and his achievements.

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This was the first event that our new American interns got to see. There was dancing and celebration in honor of the new committee being set up. All I can say is our new interns can indeed shake a leg. Watch the second video to see them in action. 🙂


The next meeting in the afternoon was held in Badalabougou in midtown Bamako. Here about 60 community leaders over the handicap society gathered to hear PACP speak. Life in Mali is tough already for those who can barely find work and provide for their families. Imagine how much harder it is for people that are handicapped and cannot contribute to the income of their families. When you drive the dangerous streets of Bamako, the view of handicapped individuals led by their relatives begging from car to car is hard to bear. In America, it is amazing how we care for our handicapped. We have facilities and groups that provide in majority for their needs so that their suffering and shame is lessened. It will be essential for the next President to institute a facility and programs that answer to the needs of these individuals. There were many questions of what these programs would be and Fomba promised that these questions would be presented to Yeah so that he could address them with the importance they deserved.

Badalabougou: Leaders of the Handicap Society

The day of meetings was successful. It is meetings like these that will get the vote in. The people of Mali need a leader that can lead them out of the lifestyles that they are resigned to and show them a lifestyle they deserve and should be living 52 years after independence. There will be many more meetings like these accompanied by music, dancing and the hope of a brighter future under Yeah Samake.

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Past Posts


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