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Turn the Page

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This past week, it has been extremely interesting to hear the other candidates speak. Like parrots they speak the words “turn the page”, an adage coined and displayed first by the Samaké campaign. But what does it mean to truly turn the page?

Look at Mali today. Where does Mali stand despite all its resources in cotton, agriculture and gold? Mali is the second biggest producer of cotton in the world and the 3rd biggest producer of gold in Africa. Yet, one only has to walk into the streets to see the beggars line up. The Malian people are a strong people. They have done their best to make the best of the bad situation.  During the crisis of last year, there are many people that have taken to the streets to sell goods. That is one of the things I love most about the Malian people. While some might see it as being resigned to their fate, I see it as them making the most of what little they have. And that is a quality few countries can talk of.

Look at the candidates running. There are 28 candidates. They each talk of what they will do for the country when they become President. Many candidates have a platform, few have a clean track record of being doers. Most of these candidates have held positions of power. They have been ministers, prime ministers and directors of government agencies. There is not one of these candidates that can say they have helped the country during their leadership tenure. If anything they have eaten the country’s money while the people around them get more destitute. Nepotism and corruption have run high and no good has come from their tenure. And then after their terms, which they have tried to prolong, they become critics of the government’s policies. So first you have inaction and then you have talk, both of which are useless and cheap.

On the other hand you have the young candidates. There are some candidates who have been paid off by the older candidates to run so as to take away votes. Some have created secret alliances with the old class yet they preach of change. Still some have dirty hands themselves having embezzled money in the positions they held.

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This is the political landscape we are fighting in. We are not in this for the fame, the money or the glory. We could sit in America and make 10 times what we will ever make here. For the past 10 years we have shown the Malian people, where we have worked, a different way of life. With each school we helped build, we have helped educate a village and villages around it. With each water pump we have installed, we have brought health and clean water to a community. With each hospital/clinic we have helped build, we have brought accessible healthcare to the community. While others candidates talk of change, we have brought change.

While the country has regressed, the communities where we have worked have grown and prospered. Ouélessébougou is a prime example of that. While the rest of country languishes with daily power cuts, Ouélessébougou enjoys electricity 24/7 ( except during a bad storm). Today Ouélessébougou sits at the #7 position out of 703 cities in Mali. When Yeah took office 4 years ago, it was 699 out of 703. People say, oh well, running a town is much different than running a country. We say, change happens at the bottom and if each town was empowered to change their future instead of an ineffective government trying to determine it, Mali would be a very different place. If each community had a university and a school, children from the village would return home and try to improve the community instead of clustering in the cities that have the university.

Change. The time for Change is here. Mali deserves better. And it is up to us to help change Mali. Each of us has the ability to make a difference. Each of us has the ability to empower communities in Mali, whether you are in Mali or in the rest of the world. The biggest lack right now is not that the Malian people don’t know, it is that they don’t know better. This has been their life for 50 years, if not more. Mali is as poor and destitute as it was 50 years ago. Its 20 year democracy has been a sham where leaders have been propelled into power through voter fraud.

Change. Change for Mali. Change in Leadership. The time has come to Turn the Page on Bad Government. The time has come to Turn the Page on Irresponsible Leadership. The time has come for the Malian people to prosper. That will not happen under the candidate IBK. That will not happen under the candidate Soumaila Cisse or Modibo Sidibe. That will definitely never happen under the candidate Ahmed Sow, Soumana Sacko or Dramane Dembele.

Yeah Samaké is the only man who has served his people and if given the chance he can mould Mali’s future into a prosperous one filled with opportunities for every race, religion and background.

July 28th is the day that Mali’s future will be determined. July 28th is the day when either the chains of illiteracy, poverty and death will be broken or strengthened.

We are on a race to raise $30,000 more to staff precinct captains that can watch for voter fraud in all 703 cities in Mali. Do not let them win by stealing yet another opportunity from the Malian people for change. Already, the older candidates are starting to tell lies about Yeah in the hopes of taking votes away from us. Help us secure Mali’s prosperous future.

Help us Turn the Page at http://www.samake2013.com

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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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COUNTDOWN 15 DAYS

This past Wednesday, another important milestone in this campaign was reached. PACP officially celebrated the candidature of Yeah Samaké at the Palais de la Culture in Bamako, Mali. The 3000 place hall was jam packed and overflowing with people from all walks of life. However, the biggest age representative was the youth who showed up in packs to support Yeah Samaké and the PACP.

This was an amazing event. It gave us a new opportunity to fire up the youth that has already been so driven. So many youth traveled from as far as Ouélessébougou, Sikasso and Koutiala ( 6 hours away) to come attend this event. The crowd was simply breathtaking to watch and as we walked out, there was a roar of cheering that echoed through the room. It felt surreal, but it was so wonderful to see our campaigning of the last two years reach this milestone.

At the event, Yeah had the chance to reaffirm his commitment to the people of Mali. He asked the crowd to turn the page on 20 years of bad government and ineffective leadership. The words “turn the page” have now become synonymous with Yeah Samaké and are reflected in the billboards and posters that are plastered over town. Other politicians who support Yeah talk of joining the party so that together they can turn the page on 20 years of failed government and corruption.

The next day, Team Samake headed to Yeah’s hometown of Ouelessebougou where they rallied their supporters from the 44 villages. They then went on to celebrate in Misseni, Sikasso, where the Mayor of Misseni and all his councilors were leaving their political party to join Yeah’s party. In addition, one of Mali’s most famous rappers Milmo has endorsed Yeah and has been standing steadfast behind Team Samake. In fact he will tour with Yeah all over Mali during the next two weeks telling the youth to support this young candidate who has served Mali already. Also, today, the first of 3 videos played on national TV. We are so grateful for The Goodline Team Joe, Travis and Josh who traveled all the way to Mali to help us create 3 amazing videos that truly capture the Yeah Samake story and how Malians will be better off with his service like his, principled leadership and fresh perspective.

Things are moving fast and in the right direction for the PACP team and Yeah. We are so excited with all the great developments on the campaign trail!!

TWO MORE WEEKS!!!  Malians are ready for change. They are very tired of the old guard that has gotten rich at their expense.  Change needs to happen. If it does not change, Mali will continue to remain one of the poorest countries in the world with no opportunities. That is a high price for our children in Mali to pay. Together, the time has come to turn the page! Invest today in the future of Mali by investing in Yeah Samake at http://www.samake2013.com

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Posted by on July 14, 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/

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” 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 Dio, Selingue and Yelekebougou

This past weekend was another great campaign success.

Youth leaders in Bamako gather to support YEAH

Youth leaders in Bamako gather to support YEAH

The youth that had formed their own movement visited with Yeah first thing Saturday morning. I love seeing the commitment of our youth in Mali to support change. Neatly dress and enthusiastic, they are my hope that Mali’s future is indeed bright. The youth association AJLCDM met with Yeah to present a plan of action in reaching some new areas in Mali. They also presented what they had been doing in terms of supporting Yeah and to increase awareness on the campuses about Yeah’s plans for Mali. Yeah also had the unique opportunity to meet with members of the National Youth Bureau in Mali. They presented a small skit showing the impacts of corruption and how Yeah is a good, honest individual who could bring change to Mali. This skit can be taken and presented to many communities and residents. Malians love dramatic performances and I love how the youth are using their talents to spread the word about Yeah Samake and PACP. The energy is simply amazing!

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The PACP delegation visited new villages of Dio, Selingue and Yelekebougou. One of the successes of this campaign is that unlike other candidates, we campaign mainly in the villages of Mali. 80% of Mali’s growing population is based in the villages. In order for Mali to progress as an entire nation, change and development need to happen in all parts of Mali.

It was in this spirit that the Samake team headed to these two villages. The first village called Dio-Gare is situated in the Koulikoro region and hosts about 8000 residents. The village had formed its first PACP committee and the delegation officially recognized the association. Many residents attended this event. Our PACP delegation was led by our youth leader Sibiri Mariko and Yaya Coulibaly. They talked with great enthusiasm about what Yeah Samake has accomplished already for Mali and what the vision is for the future. The meeting ended on a high note with many residents speaking their praise and showing their enthusiasm for the delegation that had traveled far to come talk with them.

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The next area visited was Yelekebougou, an area that also is in the Koulikoro region. More than 15 PACP members visited this area where they spoke to more than 60 people of all ages.  This morning a supporter who had witnessed this meeting, Abel Traore, shared this message about the meeting on Facebook: ” Le bureau national du parti PACP etait a Yelekebougou le samedi passe. Ils ont eu le soutient indefectible de toute la commune de Yelekebougou pour les prochaines election car c’est le seul parti qui peut amener le changement dans ce pays. QUE DIEU BENISSE LE MALI.” which translated is: ” The national office of PACP party was in Yélékébougou this past Saturday. We had the unwavering support of the entire town for Yélékébougou believes that in the next election we are the only party that can bring about change in this country. MAY GOD BLESS MALI.”

The PACP delegation in Yelekebougou

The PACP delegation in Yelekebougou

Yesterday, our campaigning continued full swing as our PACP team visited beautiful Selingue, a 118KM drive from Bamako. Selingue is one of the touristic areas in the South of Mali famous for the Festival of Selingue and also the Selingue Dam that is the 3rd most important energy production center of Mali. Here too, the delegation was met with great enthusiasm. In fact in this area, the residents had been eager for PACP to visit the area, having made many requests with our bureau. We were excited to visit and solidify the relationship with our association there.

Everywhere we go, we see residents turn out to welcome us and create their own PACP associations in their areas. The support has been exciting to watch and witness. People in Mali are begging for change. Too many years have gone by and most Malians still remain destitute. The rich get richer. The poor get thrown to the sidewalk to beg. This is not the vision of a progressive, developed Mali. This has to change. Many Malians have put their faith in Yeah. We will not let them down. We will continue this fight for Malians everywhere. The goal is not the Presidency. The goal is a Mali that is developed with a population that is able to have better opportunities.

We need your help. Villages like these are far off and not as easily accessible. It is expensive to visit these areas. If you can donate, then we can continue our battle for a developed, democratic Mali. Your money allows us to show and tell people that there is hope for Mali. And that hope is Yeah Samake and his plans for a new Mali. Donate today at http://www.samake2013.com and help us welcome a new day in Mali.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Journey to Tombouctou

Hope, destitution, order semi-restored, a lack of medical aid, a recovering region. These are just some of the feelings that besieged Yeah as he entered the gates of Tombouctou, Mali. The past year has seen a region that was once Mali’s poster child for tourism and history crumble under the harsh Sharia law and Islamic radicalism.

When the coup happened in March 2012, no one could have predicted that Mali’s northern region would be taken over and then raped of all her history and cultural richness. It did not stop there. Many Malians living in the region fled to escape Sharia law and the fighting. In January 2013, the first hope of freedom came when French forces entered the North in an attempt to fight back a growing Islamist threat. The fabled town of Tombouctou was once again free.

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This past week Yeah did the unthinkable. He and some foreign partners decided to visit Tombouctou so they could assess needs and see how to best bring in the aid needed. Very few people, other than military personnel, have gone to the region.

The idea behind the trip was not politically motivated. The hope was to extend to our brothers and sisters in Tombouctou solidarity and also truly find out what could be done to help restore hope for the people and the region to its previous glory.

With no options into Tombouctou, Yeah and his group resolved themselves to a 15 hour drive on bumpy roads interrupted only by moments when the driver had to carve their own way through the desert sand. There was a collective sigh of relief as they finally made it to Tombouctou.

Once there, the actual work began. The Mayor of Tombouctou, Hallè Ousmane, is based now in Bamako, so Yeah met with the Deputy Mayor Drawi Maiga. They discussed the issues of security, the reconstruction plan and the general living conditions of the people in the area. Maiga stated that the number one priority was the restoration of basic service provision in the town, including healthcare, water and most importantly the economic recovery of the city. The deputy mayor was very grateful to see the first visitors since the French military intervention, claiming it brought some hope that tourism would return to the region. Yeah advised him that he had come to express his support for the freedom of religion and tell the rest of the world that all of Mali embraces democratic values.

Under the guidance of a doctor from the local hospital, Yeah and his team visited the hospital and community clinics to assess the need and conditions. When the Islamists had taken over the region, many basic supplies and needs fell to the wayside.

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Yeah also visited the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library and research center, which held almost 60,000+ ancient manuscripts many of which were destroyed by the rebels. He was filled with a deep anger and sorrow that the physical proof of Mali’s history and its heritage had been destroyed by the selfish actions of a few. While few manuscripts have been destroyed, many remain intact due to the brave actions of the people living in the area.

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One of the key meetings Yeah had an opportunity to participate in was with Colonel Keba Sangare, the head of the Malian army command center in Tombouctou and the Commander of Operation Serval, General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin. The French general was meeting with the Malian military authorities in Tombouctou and local leaders to assure the support of the French troops and in turn called on the locals to help support their efforts. Unlike Gao, Tombouctou has not been hit by suicide bombers. This is due in part to the cooperation of the people in the region with the military forces. Yeah met with the leaders over the Malian forces thanking them for their service to our country.

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Meeting

In the last leg of the trip, Yeah and his team traveled to the remote towns of Diré and Bourem Sidi-Amar. While it is evident that these areas have returned to a normalcy, they continue to fight to make ends meet. It was interesting to see walls still plastered with Samaké posters and the overjoyed, welcoming faces of the men, women and children, and the village elders that wore their Samaké campaign buttons with pride. Standing in the town’s public square, Yeah restated his commitment to help the refugees, who have fled these areas, return home. The people were touched to see a fellow Malian coming to visit. Many Malians have stayed away from the area because of it being a high risk zone. Here was a man that was coming not only to extend his greetings but more important to ask how he could help. “To lead is to serve, nothing more, nothing less”.

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This was a very successful trip for Yeah. It allowed him to connect with his brothers and sisters in Tombouctou who have been isolated from the rest of Mali. It allowed Team Samaké to assess the immediate needs and to bring the story back of what life is like in Tombouctou. Things are getting better. But they haven’t reached their peak. With proper leadership, economic development and growth can be brought to the region. With the right resources, the children and people of the North can enjoy the same benefits as their brothers and sisters in the South. Democracy must be restored. That was one message the people wanted to make sure the outside world knew. They want democracy!

Help us help the people of Mali. Help us make sure the things happen that will make democracy a reality for the people of Mali. Read more about our campaign at http://www.samake2013.com

 
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Posted by on March 7, 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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Helping affect Mali’s future

Since his appointment as Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Mali, Cheick Modibo Diarra, Yeah has indeed been one busy man. Yeah’s main goal as he has met with representatives from Bahrain, the US and Mali has been one and that is to create a common understanding of Mali’s current situation and how the present government is planning on creating political stability.

Yeah met with the Ambassador of Mali to the United States in DC, Al Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, sharing his insight into the Malian situation and the reasoning for the removal of the previous President ATT. They also discussed the need for increased collaboration and understanding between the U.S. and the new government in Mali in the hope of removing sanctions against Mali, so that aid could once again start flowing to the people that desperately need it.

Yeah also met with two members of the U.S. Senate. First, he met with Senator Michael Lee, a member of the subcommittee on African Affairs. Then, by recommendation of the U.S. Ambassador to Mali, Yeah also met with Gregory Simpkins, a staff member for the U.S. Congress and a prominent journalist in African Affairs.

In August, Yeah visited Bahrain which is home to the US 5th Naval base, where he was received by members of the royal family. His visit allowed him to inform Bahrain of Mali’s situation and the need of investment leading to the creation of a bilateral agreement between Mali and Bahrain. Upon return to Mali, Yeah extended an invitation to former U.S. Ambassador John Price, who has been very engaged in African politics.  Ambassador Price visited Mali from September 6th-12th.

Ambassador Price with Yeah

Ambassador Price’s visit was indeed an important one as it is important for people in the West to actually experience the situation in Mali rather than just read about it. Ambassador Price and Yeah got to meet with many key government officials in the defense, foreign and judicial sectors. Yeah was also able to secure a meeting with the man responsible for the mutiny back in March 2012, Captain Sanogo. You can read more about Ambassador Price’s opinion on this and other meetings on his blog: http://www.ambassadorjohnprice.com/captain-amadou-sanogo-a-hero-or-mutineer/2362/

Yeah and Ambassador Price also had the opportunity to visit the Malian refugee camp in Mentao, Burkina Faso. The visit will allow for a better foreign understanding of Mali’s actual situation and not as perceived by the media.

In Mentao, Burkina where we hope to distribute some aid soon

This past week has seen Mali put in a formal request for foreign troops from ECOWAS to come assist in the North. There seems to be a split opinion among Malians about whether ECOWAS troops are welcome on Malian soil. There has been a report stating that Sanogo and people close to him are against the decision by the President to invite foreign troops. The truth however is far from it, as Sanogo himself, appeared on national TV in an attempt to dispel these rumors. I guess time will show how the situation plays out. For now, there is no way for the Malian refugees to come back unless the North has been ridden of rebels. Each day there are fresh reports coming out that show atrocities in the North. Everyone is too afraid to go to that region and would rather desert everything for safety.

These past two and a half months have been busy as Yeah continues to reinforce the diplomacy and presence of Mali throughout the U.S. and other countries. The work is not over. It has barely begun and will continue until Mali once again is a democratic country.

We need your help. We cannot continue doing the things essential to restoring democracy without expending financial resources. If you can help support our work, then please help at http://www.samake2012.com. Mali deserves its chance at democracy and freedom.  

( Thank you to Liz Jessop for helping me write this post :))

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Past Posts

 

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