Panafrican News Agency

ECOWAS leaders agree 18-month transition in Mali

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - West African leaders on Tuesday accepted the proposal of the Mali military junta for an 18-month transition period.

A communique issued at the end of their one-day mini-summit on Mali at the Presidential Lodge at Peduase, just outside the Ghanaian capital, Accra, said "the Heads of State and Government took note that the length of the political transition will be 18 months maximum with effect from today, 15th September 2020".  ECOWAS had demanded a 12-month transition period.

The ECOWAS leaders demanded that both the President and the Prime Minister of the transition should be civilians "during the entire period", adding that "the nomination of these two key personalities will be done immediately".

The communique added that the Transition Vice-President provided for in the Transition Charter "shall not, under any circumstances, replace the Transition President". 

The CNSP will be dissolved immediately the civilian transition is put in place.

The communique said: "Once a civilian-led transition is put in place, ECOWAS will fully accompany the Republic of Mali towards the restoration of constitutional order, in line with the relevant protocols of ECOWAS." 

The current chairman of ECOWAS, Ghana's President Akufo-Addo, told reporters at the end of the meeting: “The view point of ECOWAS is that matters that have been put out should be dealt with in terms of days and not weeks so that we can begin the process of normalising the situation in Mali.” 

Colonel Assimi Goita, leader of the National Committee for the People’s Salvation (CNSP), which ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita on 18 August, also attended the mini summit and made a presentation.

President Akufo-Addo said Colonel Goita promised to return to Bamako to consult with his colleagues on what had been agreed by the mini-summit.

In his opening statement the Ghanaian leader said there was the need to "bring finality to the deliberations on Mali", adding "we can't afford any delay to put in place a responsible government in Mali".

"Terrorists are taking advantage of the situation in Mali and are flexing their muscles," he said. 

On sanctions, the communique said they will be lifted immediately the Transition President and the Prime Minister are effectively designated. 

The ECOWAS leaders thanked former Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck, who is ECOWAS Mediator on the political crisis in Mali, for his work and asked him to return to Bamako within one week to assess the status of implementation of the measures. 

They urged all Malian stakeholders to work together toward a swift return to constitutional order in Mali. 

The CNSP held national consultations last week at which a Transition Charter was adopted which agreed, among other things, that the government will have an 18-month transition, a maximum of 25 ministers, a council which will be the legislative body made up of 121 members from the defence and security forces and all sectors in the country.

The 500 participants recommended the president of the transition government could either be a civilian or military officer.

It said the transition government would also, among other things, have a vice-president, a maximum of 25 ministers, a council which will be the legislative body made up of 121 members from the defence and security forces and all sectors in the country.

However, the main opposition movement, whose persistent demonstrations against President Kéita's administration triggered the coup, has dissociated itself from the final Transition Charter saying the conclusions did not reflect the views and decisions of the people.

The 5 June Movement–Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), said the final document produced at the end the meeting particularly does not recognise its role and the martyrs of the fight for the Malian people for change.

It said the charter does not also take into consideration the majority view for the transition to be chaired by a civilian and also the choice of a civilian Prime Minister.

In a communiqué issued last Saturday, the M5-RFP condemned the unilateral decision that includes several points of the document which were neither discussed nor agreed and denounced the intimidation, anti-democratic and unfair practice of another era against which the fight for change was launched.   

"The desire to grab and confiscate power for the benefit of the National Committee for the People’s Salvation (CNSP), the junta which seized power last 18 August, cannot justify the methods used, which weaken the transition process," said the communiqué.

-0- PANA MA 16Sept2020