Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on national television. The development came hours after military officers staged a mutiny and seized him along with Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cisse. The military coup is supposed to be a reaction to failing security systems, rigged elections, and corruption.
Mali drove into political insurgency as military forces want Keita out of the presidency. The month-long protest in the country halted when on Tuesday, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, along with Malian PM Boubou Cisse, was detained by soldiers in an apparent coup. Malian soldiers took up arms and led an uprising in Kati, 15km from the capital, Bamako.
Around midnight, in a brief broadcast on national television, President Keita declared his resignation. He said, ” Today, certain parts of the military have decided that intervention was necessary. Do I have a choice? Because I do not wish blood to be shed.” The Parliament was soon dissolved.
Earlier on Tuesday, the protestors assembled at a square in Bamako to support the military’s actions. MalianPM Cisse called for a dialogue to resolve the issue but in vain.
A large number of people poured the streets. Foreign Embassies suggested their citizens stay at their homes.
What caused the revolt that leads to Malian President resignation?
Political tensions have been boiling in Mali since Keita was re-elected in August 2018. The opposition parties accused him of malpractices. Fresh elections were to be held in March but pushed ahead due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The current reason for public outrage was the Constitutional Court decision to repeal the results of parliamentary polls for 31 seats. The move was taken to back Keita’s party with ten more congressional seats. Thus, making it the largest bloc.
Already dissatisfied with Mali’s corruption, irregularities, financial crisis, and lowering security situation, the public revolted.
Mali has also been affected by the years-long conflict that emerged as a separatist movement in the north. The ideologically-motivated armed groups fueled the ethnic tensions while tussling for control in the country’s central region.
The insecurity has divulged into neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and Niger, with groups exploiting the marginalized communities and provoking tensions between ethnic groups.
Central Mali has been under a watch of massive UN peacekeeping forces. They have saved the region from erupting wide-scale violence. However, there are allegations of extrajudicial killings by Malian forces, which further seeded distrust in parts of the country.
The June 5 Movement, what they called it, witnessed hundreds of protestors gathering around the Independence Monument in Bamako, the capital city. The site became the place of mass protests since then. Aiming to kick out the President from his position, the public shouted slogans such as, “We want real change in Mali, Keita out.”
Various socio-political groups staged anti-government marches for weeks. Some of which turned violent. Like on July 10, at least 11 people died in clashes between the forces and protestors. People of Mali called it the “worst political strife in years.”
After the Coup
The Parliament has been dissolved. The soldiers who overthrew the President assured that new elections would be held. The groups in Mali behind the revolution said that Keita’s detention by mutinying forces was “not a military coup but a popular insurrection.”
Organizations including the United Nations and several countries have condemned the coup.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized Keita and Cisse’s capture and called for “the immediate restoration of constitutional order and the rule of law in Mali.” The UN Security Council will set an emergency meeting to deliberate upon the present situation in Mali.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional political and economic union, has suspended Mali from its decision-making council.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has tweeted his condemnation of the mutiny.
In a statement, Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s President and the current African Union (AU) chairperson, requested the forces immediately release President Keïta and other officials and return to their work.
Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, also took to twitter.