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:
- Canard Dechaine( in French): Niankoro Yeah Samake, president of the PACP: “We will not accept that Mali is untrustworthy”
- English version click here
- Zero Hora( Brazilian Newspaper): Interview with Yeah
- English version click here
- India West: Wife of Malian Presidential Candidate Encourages Democracy