Issa Kaou Djime: “IBK is the problem of Mali”

Friday, June 5, at the call of the influential imam Mahmoud Dicko, thousands of Malians confronted daily with socio-economic difficulties, poor governance and a severely degraded security situation will come to demonstrate at Independence Square in Bamako to demand the resignation of the President of the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Issa Kaou Djime, right arm of Imam Dicko, general coordinator and rising figure of CMAS (Coordination of movements, associations and sympathizers of Imam Mahmoud Dicko), a political organization which supports the imam and capitalizes on his leadership and his ability to federate to land in third place in the Malian political arena, explains to Africa point the ins and outs of this third show of force which he hopes to be as effective as the previous one held almost a year ago and which called for the resignation of the Prime Minister at the time, Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga.

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Africa point : You are calling for a big march this Friday to demand the resignation of President IBK. Why are you asking for his departure and are you not afraid of setting the powder on fire?

Issa Kaou Djime: The President of the Republic is the guardian of the Malian Constitution, the guarantor of national unity and the integrity of the territory, he must uphold the law, he is the President of the Republic, the supreme leader. Everything rests on him and he must be the recourse and the arbitrator at the same time. When IBK came to business, Mali wanted to negotiate with the Tuareg rebellion, the army at that time was in Kidal, there were the banks, all the central services of the state, it was the agreement from Ouagadougou, but IBK said it did not want to negotiate with armed men. He wanted to return by force to Kidal, it degenerated and the state lost everything. We had to go and see the Mauritanian president at the time to try to establish a dialogue which led us to the Algiers agreement on which Mali has lost ground. In five years of this six-month agreement, nothing has been settled.

Similarly, in the center of the country, when he arrived, there was no problem, today in the Center, the state hardly exists anymore and it’s almost civil war. In many places across the country, schools are closed, and it’s not just because of terrorism. Look at the governance, all the scandals that erupted under him: there were more than 1,300 billion for military programming, the money was diverted, the affair of adulterated fertilizers, the presidential plane of which we do not always know not what is the real amount, the APCAM money that was embezzled. The people who were to be prosecuted were not. The people had only one recourse, the elections, but there too things were not done on a regular basis. So Friday will be a referendum, if the people go out by the million, the international community, the PTF will see that IBK is no longer legitimate, that the people have turned their back on them, they will either have to be with the people, or with this regime who is corrupt. IBK is the problem of Mali and the solution is its departure.

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This “referendum”, to use your expression, will it be more Bamako or Malian?

There are many regionals who will converge in Bamako for this great march. From Sikasso to Kayes via Mopti and Koutiala, they will come from everywhere. Given the security context, we did not want to launch a slogan on the whole territory, because we are aware that we have problems. If these people come from the regions to demonstrate in Bamako, that means that a majority of the people agree. In addition, the symbols of the state are in Bamako. This Friday, when the people come out in the millions, it will be a way of effectively showing that IBK is no longer legitimate.

Mahmoud Dicko, already one of the most influential religious leaders in Mali, also entered politics in September 2019.
© MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

What do you plan to do if President IBK does not resign?

It is the people who will decide on the resignation of IBK, it is the people who gave him this mandate. If the people say “we no longer want him”, if he is a democrat, they will have to resign.

So you think he will?

It is not for me to think, it is the people who will decide, the last word belongs to the people, not to IBK. Friday will be a test that will see if the people come massively, if this is the case, IBK will not be able to stay in power. And we not only want President IBK to resign, but also his entire regime. We are not targeting a person, we want a change of system.

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How do you see the future if the president resigns as you wish?

We will have to move towards a 4th Republic. If we want to change the institutions, if we want to change the system, we must go towards a Fourth Republic.

In this IVth Republic which you are calling for, what will be the role of CMAS?

It is the people who will appreciate this, because we will create a democratic framework which will allow all the political forces to come together to work for what is good for Mali, while taking into account the fact that democracy must be the foundation and that Mali will remain in everything it has signed or ratified with its partners. The current problem for us is the system, it is not the international community, nor the TFPs, the problem is IBK and its regime.

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What do you think of the recall from the Constitutional Court regarding the Friday march?

It’s a farce! The president of the Constitutional Court Manassa Dagnoko gets agitated whenever we want to make big demonstrations. When we launched CMAS, she said it was not legal. But, for the march on Friday, the governorate gave us authorization, so that means that his agitation does not have to be, its role is not to make the police, it is to judge the compliance with laws, judge the fairness of elections. She is not the institution, she is the head of this institution. This Court is disputed and the legislative elections have shown that it is no longer legitimate and that the legislative elections were not regular elections, everyone agrees on this, the population, the political class, everybody. We understood that Manassa Dagnoko is there for the regime and not to watch over the sincerity of the polls and to see the constitutionality of the laws, she went out of her prerogatives, she chose to serve the regime and not democracy, for what reason? She is the one who knows. We know that it is no longer legitimate. For us, it is only a detail.

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