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Mali: Opposition Applauds Coup Amid Global Condemnation

Mali’s opposition coalition has welcomed the ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, despite condemnation from the international community..

The members of the M5-Movement expressed their approval during a recent meeting with military leaders who orchestrated a coup d’état, against President Keïta and his government on Tuesday.

In a statement, they said the coalition “takes note of the commitment” of the military junta that oversaw the coup, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), “to open a civilian political transition.”

Members of the opposition coalition promised to work with the military leadership, to draw a road map for the country’s transition to civilian rule. The opposition clearly disagreed with Mr. Keita`s policies..

For months, Mali’s opposition openly supported citizens who demanded that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta resign.

They held mass protests against corruption, mismanagement of the economy, disputed legislative elections and government’s inability to contain jihadist attacks and ethnic violence in the West African nation.

The opposition rejoiced that the junta completed its struggle to see President Keïta out of the presidency for good.

How the coup took place

On Tuesday August 18, 2020, soldiers took control of the army camp in Kati during a mutiny. They later marched to the country’s capital, Bamako, and stormed the presidential building.

The soldiers arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and his Prime Minister. They also rounded up other state officials, and took all of them to their army camp in Kati.

Protesters who were demanding the resignation of Mr. Keïta, cheered the soldiers.

Late Tuesday night, President Keïta announced his resignation on state television. He said he did not want blood spilled in order for him to remain in office. He also dissolved the government and parliament.

International community’s response to the coup

Since Tuesday when the coup took place, the international community has not hidden its disapproval of the move.

The African Union condemned the coup and suspended Mali from the body, saying military coups were a thing of the past.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also had a stiff response. It suspended financial flows, closed its borders with Mali, and expelled the country from its decision making bodies.

Meanwhile, France — Mali’s former colonial master — overtly opposed the coup. Its Foreign Minister, Jean Yves Le Drian asked the soldiers to return to the barracks. France also called for the release of President Keïta and all those arrested during the coup.

The United States has not been indifferent. On Wednesday, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo expressed America’s denunciation of the coup in a tweet.

“The US strongly condemns the August 18 mutiny in Mali. We join our international partners, including the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, in denouncing these actions,” Mr Pompeo said.

The UN Security Council and the European Union have also condemned it.

What becomes of Mali’s future after Keita?

The military junta known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) claims the coup was not meant for the military to take over. They said it was rather to prevent the country from falling into further chaos.

The head of the junta, Assimi Goita said they were preparing the country for a transition to civilian rule, through elections. It remains unclear when the elections will be organised.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita might have been out of power, but the future remains highly uncertain for Mali.

No matter who is in power, they would still have the jihadist and ethnic rebels to contend with. The violent acts of these groups are still very much pervasive. The coup might have just given them the leverage to expand their insurgency.

The next president of Mali has a great challenge ahead — that of rebuilding the crumbling Malian economy amid the global Coronavirus pandemic.

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