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Goodluck Jonathan’s Mali mediation shuttles between government and opposition

Anti-government protesters burn tyres and erect barricades in the capital Bamako, Mali on 10 July 2020.
Anti-government protesters burn tyres and erect barricades in the capital Bamako, Mali on 10 July 2020. AP - Baba Ahmed
3 min

Mediation led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan to help resolve the political crisis in Mali continues, with an opposition protest movement demanding the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. 

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Experts forming part of the Ecowas mediation mission are targeting two elements – the political nature of the crisis and elections, with the aim of fixing the problem concerning MPs who were previously dismissed by the constitutional court. 

Specialists in constitutional law from the regional West African bloc have judged it unnecessary to hear from the lawmakers dismissed by the Mali highest court.  

‘We’re already immersed in the subject,” one of the mediation experts told Bamako correspondent Serge Daniel.

One of the solutions is finding a way to try to restore the rights of the 30 MPs dismissed by the now-defunct court. 

The court overturned election results of 30 MPs, awarding some of those constituencies to the ruling party. An opposition protest movement formed shortly afterwards to demonstrate against the decision, calling itself the “5 June Movement”, or M5, comprising opposition politicians, civil society and religious leaders. 

Several demonstrations led to Keita, or IBK as he is known, to order the dissolution of the constitutional court. However that was not enough for M5 and the most recent demonstrations ended in violence, with the deployment of the anti-terrorist special forces and at least 11 people killed. 

More demonstrations were expected Friday, but the opposition movement called them off, urging its supporters to go to mosques and offer prayers for those killed in the violence.

Shuttle diplomacy

The team focusing on the political element to the crisis are working relentlessly, Daniel reports for RFI's service Afrique. Ecowas mediators are shuttling back and forth between the government and opposition. 

“With the cooperation and the good people of Mali who will want to solve the problems, not about individuals, but about the collective interests of the country, I think we'll have a way of resolving the issues,” former Nigerian president Jonathan told journalists on Wednesday. “I believe we will be able to get something done,” he added. 

Several subjects are on the table, including the country’s institutions, notably the presidency, with some still demanding the resignation of President Keita, according to a source close to the dossier. Also up for discussion is the future of the prime minister, the possibility of a unity government and problems with insecurity. 

France supports the Ecowas mediation mission, according to Franck Riester, junior minister for foreign affairs. 

“France encourages President Keita to put into action the commitments he has already made,” Riester told a senate hearing, noting questions hanging over Mali’s constitutional court and a government of consensus that Prime Minister Boubou Cissé has been tasked with forming. 

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