Colonel Assimi Goïta must exchange this Monday, June 7 his usual military fatigues for the costume of “President of the transition” in Mali that he carved out by carrying out two coups d’état in less than a year, while the Sahel remains more than ever in the grip of jihadist violence.
The investiture ceremony at the head of this immense country, poor and unstable, of this 37-year-old officer is held from 10 a.m. (GMT and local) at the Bamako International Conference Center (CICB). It comes as France and Mali’s other partners demand guarantees from the military that a new civilian prime minister will be appointed and that elections will take place in February 2022 with a view to bringing civilians back to power.
The investiture of Assimi Goïta “Will be the moment for him to reassure and solemnly make clear commitments on the unfolding of the remaining eight months of the transition”, said a diplomat stationed in Bamako who requested anonymity.
If the appointment of a new Prime Minister seems imminent, Colonel Goïta could be satisfied to say that the elections will take place ” in the current “ 2022, which may upset the international community, according to observers.
Strong man of the country
Western embassies have generally decided to send for the nomination a ” collaborater “ rather than an ambassador, which is a “Political signal” but is not “Neither a boycott, nor a sanction”, according to the diplomatic source.
Mali, a crucial country for the stability of the Sahel, has just been the scene of two coups in nine months on the part of Assimi Goïta and his group of colonels. During the first, the officers overthrew on August 18, 2020 President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, weakened by the protest led for months by the Mouvement du 5 Juin-Rassemblement des forces patriotiques (M5-RFP), a collective of opponents, from religious members of civil society.
The junta then committed, under international pressure, to a transition period limited to eighteen months and led by civilians. On May 24, Colonel Goïta, who remained the real strong man, trampled on this commitment by arresting the president and the transitional prime minister, two civilians. The officer has since been declared president of the transition by the Constitutional Court.
For Mali, whose forces lack the resources, maintaining international partnerships is a crucial issue. The one who holds the rope to access the post of prime minister, Choguel Kokalla Maïga, a veteran of politics from the ranks of the M5, tried to reassure on Friday by promising that his country would keep its international commitments. But the 63-year-old former minister also warned that “The invectives, the sanctions, the threats will only complicate the situation”.
Reassure the former rebels
Scared by the new coup, France announced the suspension of its joint operations with the Malian army, after eight years of close cooperation against the jihadists. Until further notice, its force “Barkhane”, which intervenes in several countries of the Sahel, will no longer leave its bases for operations on the ground in Mali, even if it will continue to strike, if the opportunity arises. , the jihadist leaders. However, the situation in the “Barkhane” action zone remains worrying.
In Mali, at least 11 members of a Tuareg community were killed Thursday by unknown people near Ménaka (northeast).
Neighboring Burkina Faso, for its part, suffered in the night from Friday to Saturday the deadliest attack carried out by suspected jihadists since 2015. The appalling death toll stands at at least 160, according to local sources.
The Malian soldiers are also working to reassure the former independence rebels from the north, united in the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), signatory of a peace agreement in Algiers in 2015. After expressing reluctance, his leaders have said they are ready to accompany this new chapter of the transition and several of them are expected for the nomination.