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A Deal reached ending Sanctions: political aftermath

As yesterday night passed, so did a deal between ECOWAS and the junta. The consensus concurred with the old constitution that the head of the National Assembly would be named as Mali’s next President. The deal came amidst mounting pressure placed on the junta by economic sanctions.

Within two weeks Mali has not only been further weakened but the number of regions it presides over has been reduced by three. AQIM (an Al-Qaeda branch) and the MNLA have taken over the main regions of Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou. The Tuareg claim is one that has been consistent for the past 50 years going back to when this ethnic group requested their French colonizers to grant them an independent territory. With the return of Gaddhafi’s fallen soldiers that originally hail from Mali, arms have made their demands more attainable. Confusion in the South allowed these groups to take over these three regions in a period of 3 days.

Our Mali divided

This agreement that installs the head of the National Assembly, 70-year old Diacounda, has been received with a mixture of feelings. Diacounda is himself a Presidential candidate and had been pursued by the junta for his alliance with ATT.  Malians in general, while they would not want him as a leader, I think, are glad that the sanctions have been lifted. Two weeks after it started and 1 month before elections were set to happen, one could say that the coup seems almost pointless. My concern however is that coups do not happen for “no” reason. They happen because there is an issue within the government. By installing an “old guard”-one from ATT’s regime that allowed many of ATT’s law to pass the legislative body unquestioned, the issue is not being resolved, merely being brushed over because the world says it’s time for the coup to be over. By not resolving the very reason that the coup happened, which is the government’s inabilities and shortcomings in dealing with corruption and the lack of a well-prepared army, we are setting ourselves up for failure. However all Mali can do at this point is to move forward. Yeah will continue to work with his team ADPS to ensure that the voice of the people is heard in the transitional government and that individuals are instituted in the interim that have Mali’s best interest.

So what does this new deal mean for Mali? The good things are that Mali will get the international help it desperately needs right now. Humanitarian conditions are worsening and in the regions captured Malians are being forced under a rule of terror and religious law. We are thankful that our African neighbors are willing to provide boots on the ground to fight the rebels of the North and free our people that are being oppressed. Another good thing is sanctions are being lifted and the economy once again will breathe a sigh of relief as the flow of goods is restored. On the other hand, no time line has been set in place, on when the change of power will happen. The junta promise that it will be soon. Also, the agreement hints it might be impossible to hold elections within 21-40 days as dictated by the constitution because of the attacks on Mali’s territorial integrity. Before elections can be held, territories need to be regained or let go. To clarify, the regions of Tombouctou, Gao and Kidal do not just hold a Tuareg population. These regions hold a higher percentage of Songhai and Peul. So to allow these territories to just “go” as some countries are suggesting would be to deny citizenship to certain ethnicities that have been part of Mali for centuries.

Mali's various ethnicities

All in all there are some steps in the right direction. It is a hope that the humanitarian crisis will end soon and our brothers and sisters in Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou may once again be free. Within the weeks to come the date of the election will be established as a transitional government is put in place.

The election will go forward. Please continue to show your support at www.samake2012.com. We need you with us as we continue this historic journey. Spread the word, the campaign continues! The spirit of democracy in Mali that is Samake2012 lives on!

For those interested, the agreement (translated into English) reads as:

Whereas a return to constitutional normality requires compliance with the constitution of 25 February 1992 which, in Article 36 organizes the Acting President of the Republic in case of vacancy or incapacity.

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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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The crisis deepens

The last 24 hours have seen a string of events.

Yesterday, Yeah was interviewed by PRI The World (http://www.theworld.org/2012/03/mali-junta-constitution/) on his thoughts on how Mali should move forward after the coup. Take a listen:

The junta introduced the new constitution on National TV. They had disbanded a 20-year old constitution when they took power a week ago. The 69-article constitution includes many of the guarantees of the former law, including the guarantees of free speech, liberty of movement and freedom of thought. New measures include the creation of a military-led council headed by Sanogo. It says that the new head of state is simultaneously the head of the army, the head of the government and the head of the judiciary. The middle and final sections set out the role of the military committee now controlling the country, which calls itself the National Committee for the Reestablishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State. The new constitution says that the committee will be made up of 26 soldiers or police and 15 civilians. Those asked to serve on the committee will receive immunity and cannot be tried at a later time. This leads to concerns of some of the “old guards” (those that have embezzled money), could be asked to serve on the committee and never be tried for stealing from Mali. (http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-03/D9TPJIJG0.htm) Also there was no talk of when a new election would be held in this constitution.

Also, this morning, there was a press conference to introduce the Alliance des Démocrates Patriotes pour la Sortie de la Crise (ADPS) or Democratic Patriots for the end of the Crisis. Yeah had organized 12 other political parties that hold 5 other presidential candidates into a unified front, which condemned the coup, and called for the restoration of democracy. The plan which was unveiled on National TV today, calls for an interim civilian government whose main duties will be to restore the constitutional democracy of Mali, a resolution of the Northern crisis and the organization of the elections. Also this body will work with international organizations to remove all sanctions against Mali. The body which will be composed of 30 members will have 7 members from the military, 18 members from the political parties and 5 from civil society.  The plan takes into account the legitimate concerns of restoring democracy and addressing the core concerns of the rebellion. The hope is that Sanogo will keep good on his promise to restore democracy.Details of the proposition can be found in French at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ADPSMali/doc/282460618498541/

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It was interesting to watch the developments of several protests that were organized. There were clashes between protesters that supported the junta and those that are against the junta. Tires were burned and rocks thrown between the two sides. These protests in part show that the democratic will of the people is still alive and well. However there is the hope that these clashes will not get out of hand.

Ecowas Protest ( Reuters)

At one point, these protesters stormed into the airport and ran on the tarmac causing security concerns to the plane of Presidential leaders of ECOWAS, and preventing them from landing. ECOWAS leaders were on their way to meet the leaders of the military coup and discuss ways on which democracy could be restored. For the past week, this same group has condemned the coup and threatened Mali with economic sanctions and locking up the borders it shares thereby preventing the transfer of goods. To be honest, if this group of African leaders had not rushed in this situation hot headed and trying to strong arm a country, I feel they would have received a better reception. Its third grade playground tactics. No one likes the bully and in this case the Malian people were saying they did not appreciate the bullying and to back off. If these leaders had invested some time in studying the situation at hand and reaching out to these leaders to see how a diplomatic solution could be reached, such a situation might not have happened. The result is Mali has now had economic sanctions placed on her and all her neighbor’s borders will been locked down in 72 hours if power is not relinquished. So what does this mean for Mali if these sanctions do go through? In actuality, this could be very bad for the 15 million Malians. Mali imports almost all of its gas from neighboring Ivory Coast. In addition, all of its banks would be on lock down as the central government will not transfer money to any Malian commercial accounts making it impossible to withdraw money. Also Mali that imports much of its food will find food prices shoot up as demand goes up and the supply reduces food stores present within the country. The devastating thing is that this will cause a lot more harm on the individual level before it even makes an impact on the government in place. Sanctions don’t effect governments, they affect individuals. The next 72 hours will help spell Mali’s fate. The refugees that find themselves in already desperate situations down north will only be pushed into a further desperation as remaining food sources become inaccessible.

While the issues in the South play out, in the North, MNLA is making its own advances. Now the town of Kidal finds itself surrounded by MNLA. Kidal is an essential town and if lost would mean a huge defeat for the Malian army where confidence is already low. The situation is dire as MNLA is attacking from the north while fighters from an allied Islamist group, Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), were leading an offensive from the south. Once this town is taken, Gao and Tombouctou seem next on the agenda. Once MNLA has access to the Northern region, it will not be long before the area is turned into pre-9/11 Afghanistan.

Currently, Malian citizens do not feel that their government served them.  They have felt helpless and marginalized by previous administrations and so now they find themselves turning to the junta that have removed the very government that has taken so much from them. The Malian people have been led by bad governance for so long. Suddenly, here is a leader that came in and overthrew a bad ruler. Not to romanticize it, but in the mind of some Malians, the junta are seen as Saviors and these Malians want them to remain in power to resolve the corruption and Northern issues that plague the country. From where I am, I feel like these young military soldiers did not mean the country harm and the coup was far from a planned event. Sanogo has started to grow into his role as the new President, but his inexperience shows. How can you not secure an airport when you know a delegation of Presidents is entering your airspace? How can MNLA continue their advance when the issues of the North were one of the very things that caused the coup? How can Sanogo allow the number of refugees to grow while he traverses the country visiting imams and individuals that strengthen his image as the caring leader?

Support the prompt return to democracy in Mali. Support our leaders as they attempt to work with current leaders to propose a long-term solution to the problem. The solution needs to come from within.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 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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