The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, is pressing Mali’s military government to allow elections by February. This week, the group sent a mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, to deliver a message ahead of a summit on Mali, which had experienced a coup last May. Coup leaders recently announced plans for a five-year transition to democracy.
Goodluck Jonathan was in Mali to meet with Mali’s transitional leaders, including President Asimi Goita, ahead of an ECOWAS summit on Mali to be held in Ghana this Sunday.
President Goita and the ECOWAS delegation spoke at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Mali for about two hours. Jonathan briefly addressed the press but did not disclose the contents of Wednesday’s meeting.
“The important thing is that we have been properly informed, and we are telling ECOWAS community officials and heads of state and government,” Jonathan said. “That’s what we can tell you now.”
ECOWAS is pressuring Mali’s military government to hold elections in February. Last December, military leaders submitted a five-year plan to ECOWAS, which proposes the next presidential election to be held in 2026.
ECOWAS has already imposed financial and travel restrictions on members of Mali’s military government and threatened further penalties if the February election deadline is not met.
Fouseni Diop, civic engagement program manager at AJCAD, the Youth Association for Active Citizenship and Democracy, says if further sanctions are economic, it could be disastrous for the Malian population.
He says… if ECOWAS doesn’t take its responsibility, he thinks it will set a precedent. He says another coup has already happened in Guinea. He says this would mean that today, “we can come to power without going through the ballot box, and that means we will continue to have unrelenting coups, and it will encourage other groups that will wait a year or two.” power because they know that at the end of the day, nothing will get done.”
Last September, a coup in Guinea ousted the country’s president, Alpha Condé.
Kalilo Sidibe, professor of political science and international relations at the University of Bamako, says ECOWAS and Mali’s transitional leaders are likely to come to an agreement on the date of a future presidential election – much sooner than the 2026 elections proposed by the military.
They say that if ECOWAS remains firm in its position to hold elections after February 27, 2022, the crisis may continue and the Malian government will take action. He said he didn’t think Mali was going in that direction. He says ECOWAS will probably tell transitional leaders they can give an eight-month deadline beyond February, at which point they should hold elections.
Both Diop and Sidibe reaffirmed that ECOWAS has protocols for a coup, and that further action should be expected against Mali leaders if they do not work with ECOWAS to agree a time to return to civilian rule. can.