In Mali, coup plotters plan nine-month political transition

Who will rule Mali after the coup? The soldiers of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), who took power in Bamako, on the night of Tuesday August 18 to Wednesday August 19 by overthrowing the president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, known as “IBK”, had promised, very quickly, the organization of a “civil political transition” leading to elections. They knew they could count on popular sympathy, and also had to plan for a regional outcry.

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The leaders of ECOWAS, an organization that brings together the countries of West Africa, meeting at the summit on Thursday August 20, demanded “The reestablishment of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta as President of the Republic of Mali”, when the mutineers specify that a transition will be put in place and led by “A soldier or a civilian”, as their spokesperson, Colonel-Major Ismaël Wangué, said on France 24.

A document that is circulating in Malian political circles and that The world procured exposes the possible architecture of this transition. According to this plan would be set up a “Transitional college made up of representatives of the various forces of the nation”. Composed of soldiers and civilians, “From political parties, civil society, women’s and youth organizations, the Malian bar, religious organizations”. VShe committee, whose formula evokes that adopted in Sudan during the overthrow of President Omar Al-Bashir in 2019, would be responsible for leading a nine-month transition, to appoint a prime minister with the profile of a technocrat responsible for leading a small government , all under the direction of a transitional president.

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The double difference with neighboring Sudan, where Omar Al-Bashir was overthrown by the armed forces on April 11, 2019, is that “IBK” was elected and the coup officials carefully prepared their operation. The CNSP men did not improvise an early morning action, but planned the operation upstream. List of generals to be arrested, or neutralized, in order to weaken the president’s loyalist camp and until the infiltration of his personal guard, relieved at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and replaced by proputschist elements to facilitate the intrusion in his residence.

They were also keen to avoid “Repeat the mistake of the 2012 coup plotters who themselves announced the resignation of the head of state, causing a de facto reversal that hardened negotiations with the international community”, according to a relative of the leader of the junta. From this point of view, it is a bit of a failure since no one was fooled by the narrowness of the room for maneuver of President “IBK”, announcing, under arrest, his resignation and the dissolution of the National Assembly. The condemnations of the UN or the African Union were swift. ECOWAS has decided to close the borders of all the neighboring countries of Mali, but also to freeze all financial exchanges as long as “IBK” remains captive of the junta. Under these conditions, the decision of the generals of Bamako to reopen their own borders on Thursday does not mean a return to normal.

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