Influential Mali cleric Imam Mahmoud Dicko on Wednesday called out the military junta to comply with West African leaders’ demand to name a civilian president and prime minister by September 15 to ease sanctions imposed after the coup, reported Reuters.
The junta began discussions with Mali’s political parties and civil society groups over a transition to civilian rule on Saturday. The summit was originally planned for last weekend but was called off at the last minute after a quarrel between the military and the June 5 Movement, which spearheaded the protests that led to the toppling of president Keita.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) welcomed the move, but it kept sanctions in place including closing borders and banning trade.
The bloc has called for a “swift” transition to civilian rule i.e. electing a new non-military president and appointing a new prime minister within 12 months as a key condition in order to lift the imposed sanctions.
“If the international community, including ECOWAS, now thinks that the presidency of this transition should be given to civilians, let’s give it to civilians,” Dicko said. “Mali is full of executives, men of integrity, let’s find this rare bird.”
On August 18, some rebel soldiers arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse after taking over a military camp near Bamako. The president resigned and dissolved parliament just few hours after being abducted.
Keïta won a second term in elections in 2018, but there has been anger over corruption, electoral malpractice and the mismanagement of the economy among the masses. The anger led to several large protests in recent months.
The military government had previously proposed a military-led transition back to civilian rule for two years, but ECOWAS commission chief Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has insisted it be led by a civilian president and prime minister for one year.