The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has strongly condemned the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita by military putschists. They further expressed solidarity with the people of Mali and reaffirmed their firm commitment to continue to work towards a quick resolution of the crisis.
The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government made the assurances in a communique issued by the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority Mahamadou Issoufou at the end of an extra-ordinary session by video conference on 20th August 2020.
It would be recalled that the Malian military staged a coup d’état on 18 August 2020, which resulted in the arrest of the democratically elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita together with other Malian government officials, who came to power in 2018. The military putsch was preceded by a socio-political crisis triggered by the parliamentary elections of March-April 2020. The crisis took the form of protests, sometimes violent, held by some political stakeholders, members of religious associations and civil society organizations. The attempted coup d’état similar in many respects to the 2012 coup that destabilized Mali and spurred attacks by terrorist groups, took place in a difficult global context for Mali with terrorists attacks, inter-community tensions in the central part of the country and a health crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic along with its economic and financial consequences.
In a bid to stabilize the country, ECOWAS began a mediation process and appointed a mediator in the person of former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who fielded three missions to Mali and met with almost all the stakeholders. Unfortunately, and against all expectations a mutiny was launched on 18th August less than a week after the mediator left.
Subsequent to president Keita’s statement of resignation made under duress, the mutineers came together under the name” National Committee for the Salvation of the People(CNSP) and announced that they’ve taken control of the country. After a thorough review of situation the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government categorically opposed to any form of legitimacy for the military putchists and demanded the immediate restoration of constitutional order.
In the statement on Mali, the Heads of State and Government suspended Mali from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies and called for the immediate reinstatement of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as president of the Republic. The sub-regional body further decided to close all land and air borders, stop all financial, economic and trade transactions between ECOWAS member states and Mali and called for immediate imposition of targeted sanctions on all military putschists and their partners and collaborators.
The Heads of State and government further dispatched a delegation to Mali led by the mediator, comprising the Chair of the Council of Ministers and the President of the Commission tasked with ensuring a speedy return to constitutional order. They also called for immediate activation of the ECOWAS Standby Force.
The ECOWAS Authority welcomed the support expressed by the African Union Peace and Security Council and the U.N Security Council to ECOWAS on 19th August 2020, particularly the firm condemnation of the putsch.
The ECOWAS authority expressed resolve to remain on top of issues in Mali and promised to meet via video conference in a week’s time to assess the situation in light of the mission report to be submitted by the mediator and his delegation.
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government also welcomed the decision of the National Assembly of Guinea Bissau to endorse government’s programmes.