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A Double Whammy: The North Falls and the Refugee Count Rises

As the weekend passed, the new work week invited new changes in Mali. Over the weekend, MNLA and AQIM made advances in the North and as Mali watched, the three biggest regions of Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou fell. This could have been possibly the worst thing that could have happened at this critical time. As soldiers found themselves ill-prepared and distracted, these rebels took over the North and the count of captured territories increased.

These takeovers further cement how inadequate this new regime is to handle the various issues of Mali. The very issue of the North that caused them to revolt is now biting again. In addition, we are starting to hear residents in those areas report that the Islamists are ordering Western pictures to be taken down and Sharia law is already being implemented in Timbuktu. As the reports of change came out of the North, last night the countries around Mali followed through on their promise of sanctions locked down their borders. Under the sanctions, the five neighboring ECOWAS members will close their borders with landlocked Mali except for humanitarian purposes. Its member states are to deny Mali access to their ports, freeze Mali’s accounts in regional banks and suspend Mali’s participation in cultural and sporting events. Also in the works, is the possible deployment of 2000 military soldiers from the neighboring countries. It is still confusing as to whether these soldiers will attempt to take down the military leadership or be deployed to fight rebels in the North.

Sanctions could be disastrous for Mai that relies on imports for most of its goods. The biggest one is fuel as Mali imports all its fuel from neighboring Ivory Coast. No fuel could spell trouble for gas stations and residents. Yesterday night, when the embargo was announced, people rushed to gas stations to fill up afraid that fuel would run out. Also with the banks being cut of the money supply, residents that rely on banks could be very affected. Most Malians however do not bank and so this might not be a thing that affects them. Rising food prices and things like cement and fuel being in short supply are more likely to happen as Malians adjust to the sanctions.

Sanogo, continues to say he will hand back power and in the face of sanctions, he continues to make these promises without attaching a deadline. Yeah continues to work with other political parties to make leaps and bounds that hopefully will see results. The hope is for Sanogo to cede power peacefully. Already Yeah and his team are in talks with the different embassies and also different organizations that can help facilitate this process. Now is the time for peace talks, not sanctions and threats. Now is also the time to start backing our army with better prepared and equipped outside forces so that the rebels do not decide to consider taking their offensive further south.  It certainly will back fire to have a radicalized violent extremist movement well rooted in Northern Mali.  This is bound to threaten regional stability.

If the sanctions continue, it could be disastrous. Already the Northern regions are experiencing deteriorating conditions. In addition to a drought and extremely hot weather, almost 200000 refugees are displaced by the fighting in the region. These individuals need help now. There are children that are dying every day because of inability to get food and water. The heat is unbearable and makes conditions even worse. April is the hottest month for Mali and here temperatures in the North easily reach 120F. Now more than ever, our Malian brothers and sisters need your help. We need funds that can not only handle the immediate concern of improving their living conditions. Once we have answered that need, a need to stabilize them in society becomes essential.

A rising count. 2000 in the last 5 days!!

I have said it before, but I am compelled to say it again. People in the world need to realize that the refugee issue is not just a Mali issue; it is a human rights issue. We have refugees that are living in despicable conditions with little to no resources. Our teams have been attempting to raise refugee aid to help our displaced Malian brothers and sisters while the issue in the North plays out. We are calling on the international community to step up aid to these displaced people so that basic necessities like food, water and shelter are given them so that we don’t have a similar issue like that in Sudan and Somalia. Those interested in doing so through the Samake 2012 campaign may make anonymous donations to a trust that has been set up:

Friends of Mali Trust

472 East 4380

North Provo, Utah 84604

As soon as the current violence ends in the north, a new need will arise: Helping those who have been displaced to return and resettle into productive lives.  In East Africa, many displaced populations have suffered for years – prohibited from finding local employment near their shantytowns, they have become dependent upon western aid organizations. In some cases, these camps have witnessed second and even third generations growing up in these conditions.

Mali must be different. The people of Mali are strong and independent.   Beyond the immediate aid needed to sustain life, we also seek just enough aid to help families return to their formerly productive lives.

If you can help today, help make a difference. Every little bit helps.


Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Past Posts


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Dialakoroji seeks clean running water from Presidential candidate

What other way to start the weekend than with a rally? As Yeah was holding his meetings in Paris, Team Samake, headed by Secretary General Fomba, started off the weekend with a rally in Dialakoroji, Koulikoro, Mali. Yeah’s brother, Drissa Samake, who teaches Chemistry at the University, had arranged this meeting to introduce Yeah’s vision to the people of this region.

Kane kicked of the meeting by telling the 120 in attendance about Yeah’s background. The Secretary General Fomba spoke of Yeah’s achievements. Fomba emphasized the difference between Yeah and other candidates. He advised that other parties misuse their funds, and are looking only for power. The people need a leader who will not misuse the people’s money and use it only to increase the welfare of Malians. If the current issues of education and healthcare are resolved, he said only good can come for the future generations.

One of the requests made by the women in the village was for a garden. Fomba suggested that the women co-op should get together and get a microfinance loan.  Another of the requests of Dialakoroji was the need for a water system. The wife of the village leader put forth the concern that to get drinkable water, the villagers had to hike up a mountain every Sunday to get water for the week. The road is difficult and the path rocky for walking or even driving. By bringing a water source to the village, Dialakoroji could be made sustainable as they would not only be able to provide water for their needs but also be able to grow crops at a lower level for their own dietary needs as well as financial means.

At the end of the meeting the group went to see the water source in question. It is amazing the things we take for granted, clean drinking water, and here there are people who have to walk miles up a difficult mountain, just to be able to get drinking water.

After, the group played Yeah’s video that highlighted all that Samake2012 stood for and the change that he could bring if he was elected.

This was a great meeting and it showed the support that Yeah is building in the villages. Many of the candidates have not visited the villages to campaign like Yeah has. These villages are essential to winning the campaign as there are some essential issues that need to be addressed like education, healthcare, and electricity and clean running water. This campaign hopefully will be won on issues. That is the hope that the people will be driven to the polls to choose a leader that could bring change and not a leader that can pay his way into newspapers and into Koulouba, and then once he is there he forgets about the people who actually suffer on a daily basis.

Here’s to choosing a leader that will make the difference for present and future generations on April 29th. Support honest leadership at Vive Mali!

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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Past Posts


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Yeah’s Message to the Malian people for the new year

A new video is posted with Yeah’s New Year message to the Malian people, wishing the people of Mali a year of good health, peace and above all prosperity. This is the year for change. Support Yeah Samake for President of Mali 2012! 

To watch the video click the picture below

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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Past Posts


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