Jonathan-led ECOWAS Team Confident Mali will Return to Civilian Rule
By Ejiofor Alike
After two days of meetings with Malian political and civil-society figures, the mediator for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, said he had no doubt that Mali’s post-coup interim administration would hand over power to civilians within the agreed 18-month deadline.
“It’s too early to doubt them,” said Jonathan, who was accompanied on the trip to Bamako by ECOWAS President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and other members of his mediation team.
“We believe – they will be able to complete everything that they have set out to do within the 18 months timeframe”, he said, adding that the President of the Transition and Head of State, Bah N’DAW had assured him that they are committed to the deadline.
The visit followed increasing questions over the post-coup government’s ability to reform the constitution and stage elections within the remaining 14 months, while tackling the country’s brutal jihadist insurgency.
Jonathan’s spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze said in a statement yesterday that the former president told journalists that the mission encouraged the Transitional Government to finalise and release a road map with an action plan indicating the various activities to be carried out while being respectful of the transition period scheduled for 18 months.
He said further: “The mission insists on the necessity to reinforce consultation through open dialogue with all the stakeholders to ensure an inclusive Transition process. This will allow greater internal ownership of the various decisions relating to the transition, in particular the development of fundamental texts.
“On the social level, the mission urged the Transition authorities and social stakeholders to engage in dialogue to reach a solution that preserves interests of Mali.”
The former President also expressed concerns about the recent arrests in connection with an alleged coup attempt, adding that the delegation urged the administration to follow “legal procedures in force, in a transparent manner while respecting human rights.”
The Mediation however reiterated the solidarity of ECOWAS with the Government and the Malian people and expressed its willingness to accompany them in the process of achieving a successful transition.
It also noted the progress made by the Malian authorities with the appointment of all the heads of the organs of the transition, namely, the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and the President of the National Transition Council.
While in Bamako the mediation team met with President of the Transition and Head of State, Bah N’DAW, the Vice-President of the Transition, the Prime Minister and Head of Government as well as the President of the National Council of the Transition. It also held consultations with other stakeholders, civil society, political parties, the diplomatic corps, the Director-General for elections (or Chairmen of the General Delegation to the Elections) and the Independent National Electoral Commission.