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ITS OFFICIAL!

Quick update! Friday, June 28th was the deadline to declare our candidacy with 5 signatures from each region supporting our candidacy (TOTAL: 55 signatures) and pay a fee of 10 million CFA. You are probably thinking, 55 signatures, no biggie. Well, when you are take into account 3 regions ( Gao, Tombouctou and Kidal) that are involved in insecurity and terrorism, things become a little different. Our party has been blessed with members that are willing to take risks to travel into these regions, meet with the leaders there to get the sponsorships needed.

So far 36 candidates have submitted dossiers of signatures and the fee of 10 million CFA. However the Constitutional court has to validate the final number and make sure that the signatures gathered are valid and belong to deputees and counselors in each region. We hope to hear how many official candidates there are this coming week as campaigning officially begins in Mali on July 7th.

I am excited and humbled that we could make this grand milestone with 65 signatures from all regions in Mali. This would not be possible without each and every one of you contributing to our success and efforts.

Getting ready to submit the sponsorship signatures to the Malian Constitutional Court

Getting ready to submit the sponsorship signatures to the Malian Constitutional Court

We are so appreciative and blessed by your support.

Keep the fire burning at www.samake2013.com. We do not need 20 more years of corruption, inefficiency, bad governance and bad healthcare. Mali needs your support! We need you to help us make this happen!

 

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Service Before Politics

This past week was charged and full of some great events and service projects that we did in the various areas of Bamako, the capital of Mali.

Our PACP delegation headed to Baguineda where our resident eye doctor and Secretary General of PACP Aboubacar Sidiki Fomba donated his services to do free cataract surgery. In Mali, to remove cataracts, it costs about 50000 cfa ( $100) per eye. Now think about it. An average Malian will not make more than a $1.25 per day. In fact, most Malians will forgo the cost of an eye surgery because the need of food and other basic amenities for their family is a priority. Fomba has donated his services in many areas. The newest was Baguineda. In Baguineda many older people and young children were brought to get eye tests done and then the surgery. In one case, a man told us that he had bad cataracts for a few years now, and for the first time he was now able to see clearly. It makes me sad when I hear about the lack of access our people have to healthcare. With there being few specialized eye doctors, prices are high for a Malian and for many the cost is their sight. This is not the first time that the party has provided free healthcare clinics. Since the party was started in 2011, the doctors in the party have banded together to provide free healthcare services in many villages in Mali. People are amazed when they see a party that serves before they engage in politics. However, in regards to Yeah, this is nothing new. Yeah has brought many doctors and dentists to his own areas which has served people from regions as close as Sikasso and as far as Kayes. People are amazed when they hear about what Yeah has done because in essence their own leaders have failed them for so long. For them to imagine that there is  a political leader that has served his community and impacted lives is a stretch because for too long politicians have lined their pockets and not helped the country.

The next day, our delegation headed to Yirimadjo to establish and recognize a sub section of our Party PACP. The youth of Yirimadjo committed their support to the campaign.  The President of the PACP section there, Fidelle Samake confirmed their support to PACP and to continuing the fight for new leadership in Mali.

The following day, the delegation made up of PACP members Fomba, Djeneba, Kone, Fifi and Fatoumata headed to Niarela. Again they established and confirmed a sub section in Niarela. The President of the sub section, by the name of Nientao, had gathered together quite a crowd of youth in Niarela. They committed their support. To add to this great evening, the leader of the women by the name of Sympara, committed that she would support Yeah Samake and the PACP vision for a new day in Mali.

Also, an amazing movement has been growing in Mali. Recently our youth bureau headed by our youth leaders Sibiri Mariko and Salif Tigana launched a new project. They created a short video showing Yeah’s bio and all the things Yeah has done for Mali. The amazing thing about this video is that it is transferable by phones. If anything, almost 3 out 5 Malians possess a phone, if not more. So this is awesome, because we can now transfer this video and in essence create a ripple effect. In addition, our youth bureau is going full steam ahead by showing this video on projectors to large crowds during the night and on laptops/notebooks with small groups during the day in all the communes in Bamako. We hope to spread to the rural regions as well with the video, but given that this video is transferable, we can just simply send this to our section leaders in the different communes and have them show it and spread it among their communities.So far the video has been displayed on a project in 2 of the 6 communes within Bamako. Each time we had a huge number of people show up to watch the movie and find out about Yeah Samake. Bamako is one area where we have not focused our resources because a majority of Malians live in the rural areas.However people that watch this video are amazed. Many in Bamako are surprised that there exists a man who has served before he got into politics. It is like the lamp of hope re-illuminates and many of them will take the video and even give their contact info so we can get them involved in the party

I love the energy of our youth. They give me the strength and courage to continue our work. More than anything, our youth that form more than 50% of the population deserve a chance to break the cycle of poverty and desperation.  I am truly psyched at the possibilities with this group!!! They know what they want and they are not afraid to think outside the box to make it happen.

It just amazes me how each day we get new supporters. These new sub sections are a sign of growth, of life, of desire for change. Malians are eager to kill the python that has choked them for so long. They are eager to see beyond the expired visions of a failed country with no opportunities.

Please invest in our country’s future. Mali and Malians need your prayers and support. They need your voice to spread the word about Yeah Samake. We need your donation to spread this campaign in every corner of Mali. The first step to a prosperous future is getting Yeah elected. Be the spark of change and part of this amazing campaign at http://www.samake2013.com

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Offering Malians a new option

Recently, a popular newspaper here by the name of 22 Septembre did a cover story on Yeah’s plans and hope for Mali. The article is a powerful account of what Yeah wants for all Malians and how his party PACP ( Parti pour L’Action Civique et Patriotique) wants to meet this need. I simply had to share the translated version of this:

http://maliactu.net/yeah-samake-candidat-du-pacp-a-la-presidentielle-2013-nous-sommes-venus-offrir-aux-maliens-une-nouvelle-option/

logoyeah2

” In souls nobly born, valor does not await the passing of years. Just born, the Party for Civic and Patriotic Action is already on the national political scene, and has the ambition to offer a new option to Malians. One of Mali emerging, in which the country’s resources are judiciously used to create real opportunities for Mali. It is this belief that drives the President and candidate of PACP Yeah Samaké, who says they “came to give Mali a new option.”

One Party, One ambition for a new Mali

The PACP, according to its candidate, came on the political spectrum to offer a new option to Malians. The option is to make this country great, in which Malians can look into the eyes of other nations.

For Yeah Samaké , the Party for Civic and Patriotic Action aims to make Mali an emerging nation. He explained that what drives this party is “to use only the resources that abound our country to create real opportunities for Mali.”

Yeah Samaké went on to say “we will do this work in the first place, through decentralization and the actual transfer of power and resources from the hands of the central government to local authorities. Strengthen the capacity of local leaders, elected officials, traditional legitimacy, religious leaders and organizations, so that they contribute to participate in development. One central government can not succeed in this job without local leaders, “he said.

The party also has a priority in education. Yeah Samaké, which already has to his credit the construction of 15 schools across the country, offers, as a priority, to build a university in each of the regional capitals of Mali. “It is necessary that each region has its university,” he said three weeks ago in Dioila. The role of women, reconciliation and improving the health board are, among other priorities that the candidate will defend under PACP.

The Party for Civic and Patriotic Action motto is Unity – Work – Progress and markings are white, yellow and green color. It is symbolized by the rising sun on a field of hope. It evokes sunrise, according to party officials, a new day for Mali. His anthem “Hopefully together to build a bright Mali.” Born in difficult conditions, the PACP has always devoted most of its resources, according to its President, to the cause of Mali.
A Charter of fundamental values

PACP is based on Malian tradition values ​​of peace and development. Its creation is a hope for all Malians and all those who at one time helped to strengthen democracy in Mali. PACP was created independently, and is open to all Malians. It wants to be a party that will focus its energy nation building through an independent, liberal and inclusive vision of the Malian nation.

Especially strong in his Union, the PACP wants to create a new force for the collection of all Malians who share ideals of peace, freedom and solidarity. “In Mali we saw during his last years a rise of mistrust in  politics. However, we believe the prominent role of parties as sincere actors, committed trainers of masses and leaders of political debates. The citizen through a party contributes to the strengthening of democratic anchorage.
We want to build a party capable of withstanding the inevitable hardships of political life, a Democratic Party that will put members at the heart of its actions every day. We believe today that no democracy can be erected in the exclusion, in breach of rights of all and without taking into account the real needs of global security.

We also believe that without the cooperation and sharing of energy, no sustainable project can not be built, let alone succeed. That is why we offer Malians to gather around the PACP in the same civic engagement. Everyone must be able to express, discuss, to develop and implement new ideas. Thus, our Charter confirms our identity, our proposed methods and defines our values. ”

Mali, in a changing world has made progress, but many challenges remain. Today some questioning is required. Constructive listening to the people is necessary. This perception is fundamental to the PACP. Accompany Malians daily to better listen to them, understand their problems and immediate needs. No national event, no political commitment can not be sustainable without taking into account the aspirations of Malians from all backgrounds. All Malians must feel close to major state decisions, this presupposes the PACP proximity, availability and communication.

We want to restore the action and make the private sector the engine of development. The development of quality human resources, protection of the environment, water control, energy development potential, sustainable land management, total up the country, the development of transport, development and modernization of telecommunications, are among others, the areas on which we intend to support sustainable development. The PACP has set goals, defined capabilities and progressively will evaluate the results achieved. PACP, while placing them in a real sense of anticipation for the renewal of Malians, wants to exceed the short term.
Work unit solidarity

With the help of God, we defend the peace, unity and progress. We want a renewal of Mali, a prosperous nation worthy of the great tradition of our ancestors. We strongly support the African Unity. Our motto is to strengthen the democratic achievements and the promotion of social welfare. We want that no one is left out because of its political, social or religious affiliation.

A worker who is committed and takes initiative deserves special attention. The dignity of work and the sense of effort worth restored. The country should be grateful to all those who at some point have made exceptional performance. Mali’s future is in innovation, we must all, dare to invent the future. National unity requires an equitable distribution of national wealth. No geographic region should feel excluded from the process of technical, economic and social empowerment.

The mobility must be managed fairly and promotion of women and youth in positions of responsibility. Moreover, the attachment to the nation, our culture, our languages, our land and defending our social system needs to be strengthened. These elements are the glue that unites us and must be recycled.

Solidarity must be a duty for all. It must be placed in all parts of society and even of public life: solidarity for access to care for the poor, solidarity around the rural world problems faced by women, for access to paid work, etc. Without solidarity there cannot be peace.”

This is what our dream for Mali is. We want a Mali that is united in a common goal and works towards the prosperity of its people. Mali can have this prosperity and more. All it needs is the right leader. A leader who is honest, who has shown action before politics. A leader who can face other world powers and raise Mali up to compete at their level. A leader who can increase the wealth of Mali simply by honestly utilizing the vast resources that Mali already has. A leader that doesn’t just eradicate corruption with punishment but rather by improving opportunities so people do not feel the need to be corrupt. A leader that focuses on better education and healthcare, two signs of a developing economy.

Yes my friends, a leader whose name is Yeah Samake. Read more about what we are trying to do and our quest to make Mali the great nation she should have been 50 years ago at http://www.samake2013.com

Also for our French speakers, our party website is http://www.pacp-mali.com

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Campaigning in the distant villages of Kati

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This past week was a busy one for the PACP campaign. Our youth leader Sibiri Mariko led our PACP delegations to a number of communities in Mali.

The first village that the PACP delegation went to was N’gorogodji which has about 1160 inhabitants and is in the Kati area . The village is one of the five villages that make up the municipality of Kambila. The delegation consisted of Sibiri Mariko, Sekou Traoré, Sidiki Sangaré, and Mahamane Maiga. To start of the meeting, the PACP representatnt of N’gorogodji Konimba Kané spoke. He spoke with great disgust at the politicians who visit the area and how all the promises they had made for the last 50 years had not been kept.  He then introduced the PACP delegation and allowed Sibiri Mariko to explain who PACP was and what they hoped to accomplish for Mali. He spoke of all Yeah has done for Mali already. The PACP leader in the area then urged the participants to vote for PACP and the young candidate Yeah Samake.  The major concern in this area is the high number of unemployed graduates. PACP committed to work hard to help better the lives of the people of N’gorogodji.  The residents there gave the party many blessings and urged them to continue their hard work.

The delegation also held a meeting with the youth at the national bureau of PACP to discuss Kati. There they met with the PACP youth leaders in the area and made plans on how to mobilize leaders within the community to better spread the word about PACP.

The delegation then continued on to Diaguinebougou where they met with the founding family. The members listened to the PACP delegation and made a firm commitment to support Yeah Samake and PACP.

The next day, the delgation now made up of Sibiri MARIKO, Abdrahame Mariko, Sékou Traoré, Moussa Maiga, Sidiki Dembélé and Mahamane Maiga visited Doubabougou. Doubabougou is a village and rural commune in the Cercle of Kati in the Koulikoro Region of south-western Mali. The commune contains 6 villages and has a population of 8,041+. The PACP leader there by the name of Moussa Kouyaté, introduced the PACP delegation and welcomed them to the area. Sibiri, after explaining about the party’s vision and who Yeah Samake is, called on the village to help change happen in Mali. The youth of the village had created a slogan:”Le changement radical” (The radical change) when they campaigned for PACP and Sibiri emphasized this same slogan as he spoke to the villagers. The villagers showered their blessings on the party of change and its delegation and urged them to continue their mission in all the villages of Mali.

Meetings like these are so essential. They help us determine what the needs of the Malian population are. No candidates will usually visit these areas and so the people have grown disillusioned with politics and politicians in general. Seeing candidates like Yeah Samake and the PACP party that take the time to travel to these far areas gives people hope that if they choose a leader like this, their needs will be met by the President. How can you bring your people hope and change if you do not know what afflicts them. PACP is the party of change. The party that will welcome a new day in Mali because it truly understands the chains that hold back many ordinary Malians from the different walks of life.

Many more meetings like this must happen. Today I ask you to donate $50 at http://www.samake2013.com which helps us pay the gas and chair rentals for the trip to one distant village. Today I ask you to become part of this journey and make the lives of ordinary Malians better by helping elect YEAH SAMAKE. This happens only if we can educate every corner of Mali about what their options are and who Yeah is. Today, I humbly come to you with open hands and ask for your investment in my Mali. 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Villages of Baga and Kandian welcome Yeah Samake

A few days back, for the first time in the history of the villages of Baga and Kandian, a presidential candidate paid them a visit. The event was historic  and the villagers turned out in droves to meet a candidate for the first time. That candidate was none other than Yeah Samake.

The Chief of the village of Baga had requested to have a face to face meeting with Yeah. To honor his request, Yeah traveled to this distant village to get the Chief’s blessing. The chief solemnly promised that all his people would vote for Yeah Samake because he was the only candidate that had taken the time to come and hear the problems and concerns in the village of Baga.

Yeah also paid a visit to the Chief of the village and the people of Kandian. The people there too were extremely surprised and very pleased that a candidate would come visit them. They stated to the PACP delegation that this was the first time a candidate had come to visit them and it was a symbol and proof that they did matter. They too promised that they would support the son of Djitimou.

Yeah is one of the only candidates that was actually born and brought up in the rural areas. So he is familiar with the conditions that 80% of Malians have lived in for the last 53 years. He understands what it means to not have enough to eat, what it means to not have a job after graduation, what it means to support a big family. Here is a candidate who understands what a majority of the Malian people are suffering from because he himself has been through all the conditions that besiege ordinary Malians.

I truly believe that Yeah is the candidate Mali needs at this critical time in its history. 50 more years of inept, corrupt government will destroy this great country beyond repair. 50 more years of bad education and pathetic healthcare will push Mali and all Malians back instead of driving them forward. Mali cannot afford failed government. Mali cannot afford an inept public system that is governed badly. Mali needs a leader who is willing to listen. A leader who has acted rather than spoken about what he will do. A leader who looks at Mali and sees the opportunity to raise a great nation, not the opportunity to become rich personally. A leader who will raise Mali so that she can look in the eyes of other African nations not bow down at their feet.

That leader is YEAH SAMAKE. Join us today as we speak up for Mali. Join us so that we can make Mali the great nation she was and the great nation she can become with good honest leadership.

Learn more about Yeah Samake and our party PACP at http://www.samake2013.com ( EN) and http://www.pacp-mali.com (FR)

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Impacting Governance at the local level

On March 16th a delegation of Malian mayors and municipal leaders left hot, sweltering Mali for Utah. The goal was to attend a 3-day governance summit in Salt Lake City, Utah.

One of the key things that Yeah hopes to offer as President of Mali is further training and exchange between Malian leaders at the local level and local leaders in other countries, so that an exchange of ideas and best practices can happen. This falls in line with one of the key platform points of the Samaké campaign: decentralization of power. No one knows better how to solve the problems of the Malian people at the local level than the Malian leaders that govern them locally. By providing them the tools to make better decisions and implement different ideas, we are stretching minds to the endless possibilities that can give Malian people a better life and it all starts with educating and empowering local leadership.

The summit and the trip were made possible by a partnership between the Utah based foundation Empower Mali and Utah League of Cities and Towns. Yeah, as the Mayor of Ouelessebougou, Mali, led the delegation of local leaders. The really cool thing about this delegation is that its members hail from 5 of the 8 regions in Mali, even war torn Tombouctou.

maliregions

The delegation includes members from different political parties. It included the following members:
• Nampaga Coulibaly, Mayor, Misseni (Population: 45,000 people, Sikasso Region)
• Diarha Diarra, Mayor, Moribabougou (Population: 29,000 people, Koulikoro Region)
• Sekou Boubacar Doucoure, Mayor, Tele (Population: 2,078+ people, Tombouctou Region)
• Malik Guindo, City Council Member, Doucoumbo (Population: 13,000+ people, Mopti Region)
• Malick Keita, Mayor, N’Gabacoro (17,000+ people, Koulikoro Region)
• Ousmane Kouyate, City Manager, Ouelessebougou (Population: 44,000+ )
• Birama Traoré, Mayor, Kirané (Population: 40,000+ people, Kayes Region)
• Barakatoulahi Keita, Partnership Coordinator, Association of Malian Municipalities
• Mamadou Tangara, Mayor of Kénédougou, Sikasso City ( Population: 230,000+, Region of Sikasso)
• Delegation led by Yeah Samaké, Mayor of Ouelessebougou (Population: 44000+, Koulikoro Region)

The 3-day summit was jam packed with visits and discussions all over the state of Utah from Logan to Provo. City Councilman Carlton Christensen greeted the delegation on behalf of UCLT. The delegation also received a warm welcome at a luncheon hosted by the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah. The Mayors were impressed with the student’s commitment and involvement in government studies. Prominent figures like Mayor Mike Winder and Director of the Hinckley Institute, Kirk Jowers expressed hope that a partnership between local leaders in Utah and Mali would be solidified through this exchange. The energy was high and this was a great start to the three day summit in Utah. The delegation, despite being extremely tired and jet lagged, was excited at the endless possibilities of what they would take away from this experience during the next few days.

During the remaining days, the delegation also visited facilities like the UTA Trax Station, Sandy City Fire Department, Waste Management Transfer Station, Salt Lake Valley Landfill, Parleys Canyon Water Facility and Salt Lake City Waste Water Facility. These are all new experiences for the group. These kind of high end facilities are not available in Mali. That is not to say there is no fire, waste or police facilities in Mali. The difference is that the level of resources committed does not even begin to compare. The delegation was impressed by the organization of these facilities, especially the police station, water and waste plants. They asked many questions on how these facilities worked at a local level to handle the State’s needs. The mayors discussed the significant differences between waste and water management in Mali and waste and water management in the U.S. and what measures they can take to improve access to and quality of water and handling of waste in their own communities.

The delegation also had a unique opportunity to visit with the Sandy City, South Jordan and Ogden City councils. This gave them the opportunity to compare these councils and their functions against similar councils in their own regions. Each of these mayors works together with the city council in Mali in their respective regions to determine things like budget and requirements within the city limits. So it was nice to see some similarity of a process and observe how things are done in the US vs. Mali. The delegation also met with the African representative Franz Kolb at the Utah Office of Economic Development and Lew Cramer, President of the World Trade Center. The key topic of discussion was how to realistically implement a partnership between the cities in Utah and the cities represented by the delegation.

A good starting point was determined to be via the school systems in Utah and the primary schools in their cities. The delegation was pleased and impressed by the discussion and with the prospect of business partnerships between cities in Mali and cities in Utah.

The trip to Utah also included a visit to beautiful Temple Square. The delegation had a meeting with Elder Robert Gay of the Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church. Elder Gay is in charge of employment, education, and new business startups worldwide. At this meeting, they discussed the role of the Church in helping young people to find work after they have graduated. Elder Gay also emphasized that if education is only in the cities then the youth will come to the cities and never go back to the villages. The organization Unitus that Elder Gay helped start up is in the process of building apps that can be used on tablets and phones to help educate individuals in the rural villages. They are also focusing on water innovation in rural areas, primarily in Africa. Elder Gay asked the delegation to send him an official invitation to Mali to for his education application pilot program. The group also visited Welfare Square where they looked in amazement at the scale of services offered to the needy through the thrift store and employment program.

The final high note was a visit to none other than Costco. It is amazing the things we take for granted. Seeing so much food and items in one place can be overwhelming. The delegation loved it! I remember Yeah telling me when he first went to Costco back in 1999 when he first went the US, the feeling of awe that went through him and the realization that all the food there could help feed his own people back home.

All the delegation members wished the trip in Utah could go on longer so that they could see more and learn more. That is definitely something we will implement next year when we invite yet another batch of municipal leaders and mayors to come to Utah and other parts of the US for an exchange. The delegation was pleased with the trip and spoke of plans to act on what they had seen and learned, particularly in regards to partnerships.

I am thankful to all the wonderful people in Utah who helped with the delegation, especially the Utah League of Cities and Towns for arranging the meetings, the Empower Mali Foundation for arranging everything on the Mali side, our volunteers who translated and helped where they could, Jen Leahy our amazing photographer and Brett Van Leeuwen who kindly arranged lodging for all the delegation members in beautiful Alpine, Utah. It is support like this that makes what we do a possibility. We are grateful for your support!

The delegation is currently in NYC where they had the opportunity to visit the United Nations and the current Ambassador of Mali to the US Al-Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita. Also NYC hosts a strong population of Malians. The delegation was excited to meet with and mingle with many members there. The Malians in NYC showed great hospitality to the delegation, a tradition not forgotten or absolved of even though they are many miles away from Mali. The Malian delegation will return back to Mali this week.

It is opportunities like these that will empower our local leaders to effect change in their own communities. Yeah has often said: “A mind once stretched can never go back”. Yeah, through his public policy education at Brigham Young University, Utah has learned many things about governance. He has been able to apply the things that will work and has moved Ouelessebougou from the bottom 10 cities in Mali to one of the top five cities in terms of development and transparency. He talked last year with the Sutherland Institute about how his education has helped him . You can watch that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8nFS7AwrpU

It is essential that leaders be given the opportunity to see the endless possibilities and then pick and choose what will work to better their communities’ lives and livelihood. We want Mali to be a strong nation with a prosperous people. It is for that reason that we create opportunities like these. We hope that through these conferences and summits, that we can affect change at the local level. It is a possibility that can be made a reality with the right kind of leadership and implementing the right processes for change. Ouelessebougou, Mali is proof of that and the track record of Yeah Samaké displays that he is the leader of good, honest change and can make Mali a great nation.

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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Moving Mali Forward

The last month has certainly been one filled with challenges for Mali. In a way, however, the events that have played out and the results broke the deadlock and inaction in Mali.

On January 6th 2013, rebels took over the town of Konna and started an offensive that predicted doom for Bamako, the seat of the Malian government. If Bamako had been overtaken, Mali as we know it would become Al-Qaeda’s newest playground. The French reacted immediately to the threat and deployed troops to secure the South and then in a bold move, together with the Malian army they pushed the rebels back. First Gao, then Tombouctou and finally Kidal. While Kidal still remains in question since MNLA is controlling it, other rebel groups like AQIM are reportedly not present. The French are refusing to get involved in Kidal and maintain that talks need to happen between MNLA and the Malian government. MNLA is mainly made up of Tuaregs from Mali’s northern region. This might explain why France wants to distance itself from getting involved in a civil dispute between MNLA and the government of Mali. However, it also “rumored” that France has in the past supported the MNLA. Nevertheless, the sentiment among a majority of Malians is that the MNLA exacerbated the initial issue in the North by teaming up with other rebel factions like Ansar Dine and AQIM (The Al-Qaeda faction in Northern Mali).Most Malians feel that no negotiations should happen with MNLA. However if Mali is to succeed, talks must definitely happen with the people of the North to ensure that they do not continue to feel marginalized by the people/government of the South. This issue runs deeper and is old as Mali’s independence.  

Now that Mali is once again whole, another serious issue is the refugee issue. It has been reported that the refugee count now stands at 350000 refugees in bordering countries and 200000 plus refugees inside Mali. When Yeah had visited the refugee camps in Burkina Faso last month, there was a woman whose main plea was to return home. Conditions in these camps are terrible and there is not enough supply to meet the growing demand. With the regions in the North now secured, refugees can start to return home. However, there is fear because of an increased report of reprisal killings by the military. Since it was mainly the Tuareg leaders that deserted to the rebel factions there has been a backlash against this ethnic group. In addition, many of the rebels have simply melted away into the desert and also the civilian population, a very common guerilla war tactic. While one can understand why the reprisal killings are happening, these issues need to stop. There needs to be a level of discipline and leaders of the army have strongly addressed that their members need to focus on securing the areas and protecting the citizens.

The faster elections happen, the better chance Mali has of starting its recovery and ensuring its growth and stability. Democracy will also reopen the doors to the West where all negotiations had broken down since a military coup derailed elections and split the country.

Hope has returned to Mali. People are returning back to a way of life they knew a year ago. The past 12 months has affected not only the North, but people in the South too. I hear certain groups condemn the French for interfering, but what they don’t understand is if the French had not intervened Mali today would be the hub of Al-Qaeda and within arm’s reach to Europe, the Americas and Asia. That threat had to be stopped and instead of sitting and discussing it like other countries in the world, the French acted with quickness and agility. The war has been temporarily won. However the battle for restoring a nation back to stability is on.

Now, more than ever, I believe in Yeah’s ability to lead his nation. Mali’s issues are many and the country is probably in a worse off state than at its independence. I believe Yeah has the ability to restore true democracy in Mali and rebuild the economy. I believe Yeah is the hope for the dawning of new opportunities, better life and security for the Malian people.

MALI WITH YEAH SAMAKE AT THE HELM

MALI WITH YEAH SAMAKE AT THE HELM

If you believe like I do, then please support us. A donation to the campaign ensures that our work can continue. Now more than ever it is essential that democracy be returned to Mali. A donation can be made online at www.samake2013.com

Also, this past week, Yeah shared his opinion on what Mali must do to now move forward. His opinion was published in the Washington Times. You can access it at this link or read below: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/28/the-way-forward-for-mali/

THE WAY FORWARD FOR MALI

“It is critical to stability in the Maghreb and the Sahel region that terrorism in Mali be dealt with, both militarily and politically. The current situation in Mali cannot be separated from the issues in the Maghreb and the Sahel.

Extremists are breaking down the traditional tribal cultural bonds that have held society together in the Sahel region. This breakdown has far-reaching consequences for future generations. If we do not begin to reverse this trend immediately, we will have an exponentially greater problem to deal with in the near future, and much more serious long-term effects. It is critical that we apply equal pressure across the entire region in order to deal with terrorism.

As French forces have promptly intervened to help avert the movement of Islamists toward the south of Mali, there is a growing concern that the militants will spread into neighboring countries. Regional forces have been deployed alongside the French troops, which gives hope that the military campaign will succeed. There is also hope that the United States might soon restore direct political engagement with the Malian government.

The recipe for restoring and maintaining a democratic Mali requires holding elections, the return of Malian administration and army in the north, political stability and accountability, and the homecoming of displaced Malians. The way forward in Mali will begin with a Sovereign National Conference similar to that of 1991. This national dialogue will put in place the right political environment as a precursor to free and fair elections. Malians have a tradition of picking leaders through electoral processes, not by consensus, even when the outcome is less than perfect. When the country is unified, the authority of the state will need to be strengthened to allow cohabitation with decentralized local governance.

We must also consider the humanitarian situation. Humanitarian efforts should be balanced with the need for displaced Malians to return to their homes. They have been driven to camps because they do not want to live under Shariah law. After a successful military intervention, it is important politically that they become part of the solution by returning to their residences. Humanitarian assistance must be balanced in this regard.

There is a legitimate and valid need for the international community to continue to engage on the holding of elections. The current transitional government has shown no great eagerness to hold elections that might remove them from power. Deadlines must be established and commitments to those deadlines. Leverage can be found for both the military and political solutions required to restore Mali to a fully functioning democracy.

Recovering the north is not merely a logistical support effort. In the post-coup environment, there are still some political levers that need to be applied. Support for the Malian army requires not just logistics and training, but also restoring some of our critical relationships.

A group of generals ousted in the coup could play a critical advisory role in retaking the north. In particular, the former Malian Joint Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabriel Poudiougou had a good working relationship with Maj. Gen. David Hogg, commander of U.S. Army Africa, and is well respected by the U.S. Embassy. He was recognized to be a good player with U.S. Army Africa and had not been tainted by some of the corruption that was apparent elsewhere. He should be brought back into the process of taking Mali forward militarily. It is imperative that some of this lost leadership be leveraged back into the process.

The political and military process must be inclusive, not exclusive. This inclusiveness in a small area will be necessary for the political aspects that must drive the re-unification of northern Mali.

Accountability must be the principle that underpins our support. Political corruption was what led to the coup. Military corruption followed that political corruption. As Mali receives material support, it is imperative that the United States, as a major stakeholder in the process, should have a mechanism in place to monitor the flow of this equipment and material to ensure that corruption does not subvert the effort.

Deadlines for an election tied to material and other support for the military effort, along with necessary reforms, will start us down a productive path toward restored democracy and reformed accountability. This road is complex, but it is worth traveling, and it is a journey that must begin immediately.”

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Join Yeah Samake at an event in UTAH!

Billy Hesterman, from the Daily Herald in Utah, did a story on the situation in Mali and what Yeah Samake is doing to make a difference. Click on the Link below or read the story posted in the Daily Herald in Utah.

BYU grad’s bid to be president of Mali on hold

The situation in Mali is bleak.

Just this year Mali’s military staged a coup on the national government because they claimed they were not receiving enough support to fight the al-Qaeda supported rebellion in the northern part of the west African country. More than 300,000 Malians have fled from their homes to avoid being ruled by the rebels and the country is losing foreign aid as it goes deeper into conflict.

The country was supposed to hold elections this year in which Brigham Young University graduate Yeah Samake was hoping to take over as the country’s president. But with a major conflict taking place and the government being overthrown by the military, that election has been put off until May 2013 so that the country can get its affairs in order.

Currently an interim government has been established and work is being done to strengthen the army that overthrew the government. But the slow-moving process is leaving people without food and sufficient hygiene supplies while they wait for the military to reclaim areas in the northern part of the country.

Samake though isn’t just waiting for the military to act or for his election to come around, he is trying to do something to bring help to his country. He is in the United States right now giving leaders an insider’s view of the situation. He has met with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to brief him on the status of the country and also met with state department representatives and United Nations officials to inform them about his country’s struggles.

“There is significant human suffering going on right now in Mali. People are hungry. They can’t provide meat for their families. They sit and watch their kids and worry about providing daily meat to them. As a father and as a mother that hurts,” he said.

In addition to his briefings to leaders about the status of his country, he also has traveled to Utah to raise money to support the refugees that are suffering in Mali. On Monday he will be in Lehi to host an event that is aimed at raising money and awareness about his people’s situation.

“One of the reasons I am here is to help women and children in those situations,” Samake said. “I’ve been in the refugee camps. I’ve met with the people. I’ve talked with the Red Cross and UNHR and have tried to find the needs of the people. Truly food shortage is significant. But tents are lacking, as well as hygiene kits. And the children that are out of school, they also need a playground and toys to play with.”

So far local businesses have stepped forward to support Samake in his efforts. Nu Skin and Overstock.com have offered their support to him and Lehi resident Erin Merkley is organizing the Monday night event that is open to the public to help support those suffering in Mali. Those wishing to attend the event should contact Merkley at erinking875@yahoo.com.

“Utah can make unique contribution to this because of the connections and ties that so many Utahns have with Mali,” Samake said.

Samake remains hopeful for his country’s future. He also remains optimistic about his chance of becoming the country’s next president. He hopes his current efforts will show the Malians that he genuinely cares for his country and that he has the ability to get things done to get his country on the right track.

“People are looking at me. And this struggle is an opportunity for me to rise up as a leader for my people to see what I can do for the country,” he said.

Just more than 14 million people live in Mali. The annual salary of a skilled worker there is about $1,500. The nation is equal in land size to Texas and California combined.

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WANT TO MAKE DIFFERENCE? NOT DOING ANYTHING MONDAY, JULY 16TH? THEN COME JOIN YEAH IN UTAH AS HE SPEAKS ON HIS FIRST EXPERIENCE MEETING THE DISPLACED MALIAN REFUGEES THAT HAVE NOW FLED TO BURKINA FASO.

CAN’T COME? PLEASE TELL 10 FRIENDS IN UTAH ABOUT THIS EVENT. ALSO, IF YOU CAN, PLEASE DONATE ONLINE AT WWW.SAMAKE2012.COM TO SUPPORT THE REFUGEES.

 

Together I believe we can make a difference in the lives of the refugees that have been displaced. I pray that soon our Malian brothers and sisters will come home. I cannot imagine the conditions they are being subjected to. The shelter they have is no match for the hot, humid weather mixed with rain showers. The food cannot meet the constant pains of hunger. Imagine sitting 15-20 hours without doing anything, day in and day out. The supplies are running out soon and we need to help continue the aid till we can bring them home. This is not a life and I would never wish it even on my worse enemy.

Please help if you can today. Donate at http://www.samake2012.com

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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Political Ping Pong and Helping women help themselves

The political situation in Mali, as far as South Mali goes, remains quite stable. The Prime Minister seems to have gotten his team together so that the country can be run. The Interim-President Diacounda Traore remains absent as he continues to have treatment in Paris. To be honest, it really matters little that he is not here as much of the government running is done by the Prime Minister and his transitional government while the President remains in name alone. There are pitter-patters of discontentment from the political circle in regards to the running of the government. The transitional government that was formed left out all political parties, one feature that has received international credit but that has caused major discontent among Mali’s political class who feel they should have been included in the government. While it seems admirable that no old guards from the political parties were represented among the transitional government, it would have been advisable to have a few fresh faces from Mali’s political circle as advisers. The result now is that there are many parties, mainly the big ones that are creating a stir by saying the Prime Minister is ineffective and the country is not making progress.

Yeah’s had formed a political coalition ADPS (Alliance des Démocrates Patriotes pour la Sortie de crise) with other political parties. This past week saw members of some of the political parties claiming that they wanted to ask the Prime Minister Diarra to resign and have a new government be created. Yeah refused to go along with this and advised PACP’s official position as such: “The Political Bureau of the Party for Civic and Patriotic Action(PACP) informed the Executive Board of the Alliance of Democrats for the Patriots out of the crisis (ADPS) of our decision to disengage from the memorandum between the ADPS and FDR. Given the principles and values that led to the creation of the ADPS, PACP will reserve from partnering with FDR. Our party is committed, in this delicate moment in the life of the nation, to support the government of Mali in its mission to regain territorial integrity of our country and the organization of upcoming elections.”

It is essential at this point in time that Mali not falter back to the position it was in 3 months ago. To return back to a non recognized form of government would create more uncertainty in Mali and encourage further rebel actions in Mali’s North. Already, the Northern region has declared their independence and is looking for Mali to separate from that region. The question is not whether Mali will relinquish its hold, it’s when it will start to regain its territory so that it’s displaced people in Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso can return home. Also letting the Northern region go will mean doom to other ethnic groups that form the majority in these regions as they will be driven out and suffer the same fate that the refugees suffer today. Also, already the activities of rebels and AQIM are pointing in the direction that the North will become Al-Qaeda’s new playground.

Mali’s dilemma is complicated to say the least. Diarra, the Prime Minister, needs to become more vocal about his intentions or his people will start to lose faith in his abilities. There is little indication as to where his policies are headed. An uninformed people can easily be led away and become an opposition. Diarra, now more than ever, needs to get his people on his side. Food prices are rocketing and it is the general population that lives on less than a $1 a day that suffers. Two things remain a priority for Mali. First and foremost, Diarra needs to show the Malian people who is in charge and share his ideas to get Mali where it needs to be. Second, he then needs to bolster the Malian army so that terrorist groups can be expelled from the country. When these groups are removed, then negotiations can happen with the Tuaregs to determine their rights without infringing on other ethnic groups.

While the political scene remains complicated, but stable, the Malian people continue on with their daily lives. Yeah’s party PACP has been growing in droves ever since the coup happened. With the major political parties in disarray with no leadership, many youth leaders are knocking on PACP doors to investigate joining the party. PACP is engaging in tasks that follow its core principle of patriotic and civic action. Along these lines, PACP sent a delegation to Burkina Faso to assess the refugee situation a week and half ago. Their visit lit a fire under the Malian authorities who now have also paid a visit to these camps.

Another group that has received some attention from PACP is the women. Personally, I believe that Malian women are strong. They work dawn to dusk taking care of their families and are usually the first to wake up and the last to go to bed. Usually they will have anywhere from 4-10 children with the average being six. Their responsibilities do not stop there. They cook, clean, chop firewood and often try to start small businesses so that they can bring in some income. All of this is usually done with a child on their back or one to two in tow. In Mali, women and men have separated incomes. The man is responsible for providing money for food and the general running of the household. Any money the women bring in can be used by her at her discretion. Having a business teaches these women how to sustain themselves. The culture in Mali is rapidly changing and it is very common to see small street businesses run by women selling anything from household items to produce.

Classroom training for the women

PACP in an effort to encourage increased women entrepreneurship hosted a free workshop for 25 women, led by PACP member Kone, to teach women how to make soap and shea butter. The women in a 5-day workshop received the benefit of formal training in a classroom setting as well as on the job training. This was an awesome opportunity for these women to learn a business that they could then take back to their own regions and implement. Shea butter is a very essential product in Mali everyday life. It is used for anything from a cosmetic value to a medicinal use. People in Mali will often use shea butter when they have a cold or sore throat and many will swear by its effectiveness. In addition it is used in cooking and some will even add a perfume into it and make it a cream. Soap as well is an essential part of everyday life in Mali. As polluted as Mali is, Malian women do the best they can do to keep their surroundings and personal/family items clean. These two items are essential in Mali’s economy and there can never be too much of either product. By teaching these women how to make these products, PACP is providing them the tools to learn a skill that could change their lives. This knowledge can be shared not only with the next generation, but more importantly with other women in their communities. Women are very social in Mali and by teaching one woman you are in essence teaching the entire group she will associate with.  On their final day of training the group met with Yeah in Ouelessebougou, where he expounded to them the importance of the training and what the women could gain from it if used.

Classroom Training on making Shea Butter

Practicing Making Soap

The finished product being allowed to set. In Mali, bars of soap are used to wash clothes, dishes etc. Detergent is reserved for car washing or cleaning the house.

Yeah speaking with the women at the end of their training

Many more trainings like this will happen and the need is great to empower women. Many women in Mali are illiterate having had little to no opportunity to gain an education. It is projects like these that will help women create opportunities for themselves. A 5-day workshop like this usually costs $1500-2000. You might be surprised, and this does not include the trainer’s fees. In the case above, the trainer donated his services to PACP. The fees come from renting vehicles, gas and for housing/food. To truly learn these skills, you have to travel to different villages and regions hence contributing to the cost. Regardless of the cost, I believe this was money well spent. I am a big believer in empowering women and it is my hope that projects of this nature will educate women and then give them the hope to change their lives and the lives of those around them.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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A year ago..

A year ago, do you remember what you were exactly doing? June 17th, 2011 is imprinted very well in my mind. This time last year, I was getting off a plane from the US to Mali for a journey that we believed would change our lives and the lives of the Malian people. We came with the firm belief that Yeah could be the change that Mali needed. We believed he could be a fresh start for a country that was stuck in a rut of bad leadership and corrupt practices. Who knew where we would be a year later. All we knew was the journey had begun and was bound to be exciting.

I remember a year ago, my kids would freak out about flies and bugs. Now, a year later they run after them and catch them. A year ago, they would stick very close to each other. Now, they are making other friends. A year ago, they spoke only English. Now their minds are grasping words and phrases in French and Bambara. Instead of having a family of four, they have added our guards, cook and chauffeur as family. My kids have indeed grown since we came last year.

Politically, Mali too has come a long way. Who knew a year ago that what was one of Africa’s most stable democracies would not only be overthrown but the country would be divided. Who knew that almost 200,000 innocents would be displaced and uprooted from a country they had called home for centuries. Who knew that a year of campaigning would ultimately come down to fighting to restore a democracy instead of extend it. Who knew?

Through the year we have campaigned hard in the 4 corners of Mali. We have seen different cultures and traditions all compiled into a Malian. Mali’s diversity contributes to its beauty and uniqueness and we have found ourselves blessed by it. We have had the opportunity to better know Yeah’s culture and his family. I think his family has accepted us even more as they have gotten to truly know us. We have gotten to understand the challenges that Mali faces. We have been blessed to meet medical missions and people that want to make a difference and come to Mali to do just that.

However, we have also experienced history be rewritten and found ourselves amidst a coup. We have ourselves fearing for our family’s safety and in the prayers of many people that feared for us. We are being given an opportunity to continue to make a difference.

Now that we are here a year later, our resolve is no less strong than the day we started. Sure we have a hit a roadblock, but is a journey worth remembering if there are no bumps? Our people must be brought home. Mali needs to become a democracy again, so the people’s voice may be heard again. But the most urgent dilemma is that the North needs to be rid of terrorists. Mali and all Malians will not and should not be compromised anymore.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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