Checks by 3FM via a proxy in Mali indicate the country is divided a day after the Republic was suspended from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The decision to suspend the Sahelian country from the bloc was taken at an emergency summit summoned by the bloc’s Chair and Ghana’s president, Akufo-Addo, in Accra, on Sunday May 30, 2021.
Speaking on 3FM’s First Take with Dzifa Bampoh, Malian Journalist Kumba Toure said there have been divided opinions on the bloc’s decision. Between those who deem the suspension appropriate and lenient and those who saw it as being harsh and rushed.
“After the suspension, people have mixed feelings about the situation. Some people feel as though, the second Military coup last week was very much due because the president of the transition wasn’t keeping up with promises that they made when the transition team was been chosen whiles some other people feel the military coup wasn’t necessary at all because we had a coup less than a year ago and so the military should have let the transition team finish organizing democratic elections as soon as possible.”
The decision to temporarily suspend Mali from partaking in political decisions within the bloc was necessary after the military in the country staged a coup d’etat last week which resulted in the arrest of the President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane who were later released and subsequently made to resign from their positions.
Colonel Assimi Goita was appointed the new transitional president, contravening a joint declaration issued following talks in the wake of last year’s coup.
The declaration reached between ECOWAS and Mali’s civil and military leaders in August 2020 said the vice president [Assimi Goita, now president] “cannot under any circumstances replace the president.”
Kumba Toure said a lot of people however saw the suspension to be a win for Malians because “people do feel like that is okay as long as we don’t have any economic sanctions that will be stopping the country’s economy anytime soon. The borders are still opened, people are flying in, and that is good. They are not worried about the ECOWAS decision to suspend Mali from decision making within the organization as if it were sanctions placed on us.”
“The main concern was put into the economy, the country itself because people have been crying out loud in the past years because of the high cost of living and many other things, so if we are going to add any sanctions from the ECOWAS, that would have been the breaking point but people are kind of relieved there weren’t any sanctions,” she added.
The ECOWAS suspension adds to pressure mounted by the United States of America and France on Malian authorities to curb the unrest in the country and the region,
Despite the rising activities of extremists in Mali and the level of insecurity the French president, Emmanuel Macron has threatened to withdraw troops from Mali if a civilian and democratically elected leadership is put in charge.
During a visit to Rwanda and South Africa on Saturday, May 29, 2021, the French President said he could not back a country “where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition.”
The leaders present at the summit yesterday, May 30, 2021, unanimously called for a civilian Prime Minister while a new inclusive government was formed immediately to proceed with a transition plan.