In Mali, the president “IBK” appoints a beginning of government, but without national union


Mali has a government. Or almost. More than forty days after the resignation of the previous team, Prime Minister Boubou Cissé, finally confirmed by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (“IBK”), formed a small cabinet of six ministers on the evening of Monday July 27.

His first mission promises to be delicate. While hurrying to watch the official announcement of the constitution of this new team responsible for negotiating the formation of a government of national unity, Mountaga Tall, a former minister who became one of the leaders of the coalition who since June 5 shakes power, proclaimed: ” Nothing has changed. We are neither applicants nor takers of this government of national unity. Our positions remain the same. We reiterate our request to resign from IBK. “

Read also In Mali, young opponents call for resumption of protests

For Mali, Monday began with a summit of heads of state in the region, preceded by promises of “Strong decisions” while “Time is running out and the risks are great”, insisted Nigerien Mahamadou Issoufou, current president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It ended with a first act in accordance with the recommendations of regional leaders, worried to see one of their neighbor thus destabilized, who filled an institutional vacuum without – yet – unblocking the crisis.

Threats of sanctions

Challenged by the street but comforted by his peers who intend to avoid any response, the Malian president appears to be the immediate beneficiary of ECOWAS solutions, now accompanied by threats of sanctions against “Those who will take acts contrary to the normalization process”. While protests had erupted after the Constitutional Court revised the results of the last legislative elections in favor of candidates for power, the plan to end the crisis calls in particular “The immediate resignation of the thirty-one deputies whose election is contested and the organization of partial legislative elections for the constituencies concerned” and “The rapid reorganization of the Constitutional Court”, since dissolved by IBK.

Read also An extraordinary West African summit to resolve the crisis in Mali

“Cornered, the president was already ready to accept all the proposals. He ceded the Ministry of Finance. We must now enter a transitional phase which allows for calm discussions ”, hopes for a discreet mediator between the presidential palace of Koulouba and Imam Mahmoud Dicko, the main mobilizing figure of the protest in which ex-ministers, religious, the radical left, personalities of civil society meet.

However, by asserting to the other heads of state – which the Malian presidency subsequently denied but was confirmed in World by one of the summit participants – that he is the subject of a “Rampant coup” and the protests are intended to prepare for the advent of an Islamic republic – ” This is the war ransom of Imam Dicko, an unforgivable crime He said – IBK could not find the most conciliatory terms to tie the threads of the discussion. A diplomat also fears that “These measures, brought in by a third party because the two parties have never spoken to each other, are denounced as impositions”.

Read also Who are the main protest leaders in Mali?

Not surprisingly, the Movement of June 5-Rally of Patriotic Forces has, on Monday evening, noted “With regret that the conclusions of the summit of heads of state do not take into account the depth and gravity of the crisis”, bringing her back “To a simple electoral dispute of the second round of the legislative ballot”.

“We want everything to stay within the law. The dissolution of the National Assembly is fair and legal “, says Mountaga Tall. “Our problem is not government formation. We demand the departure of the Prime Minister who shot people [entre 11 et 23 morts, selon les bilans, tués entre les 10 et 12 juillet]. Until this issue is resolved, nothing is resolved. We need to present something to the people ”, adds a cadre of the political movement close to Imam Dicko. The truce on calls for civil disobedience decreed until the Muslim holiday of Aid which is due in late July may not last.

“Individual strategies”

“Behind the collective strategy, there are individual strategies, decrypts a good source. Some are demanding IBK’s resignation because they believe they will not have any post. Dicko does not ask for it but conditions any compromise at the head of Boubou Cissé. And then there is the grassroots demand which is above all social. ”

Read also In Mali, the uncertain future of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta

For France, one of Mali’s primary partners and which has more than 5,000 soldiers deployed in the Sahel, one of the challenges of resolving the crisis is to prevent the Prime Minister from being sacrificed, like his predecessor. was in April 2019, and thus begins a new period of transition, synonymous with stagnation.

Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga had been swept away by a wave of protests already led by Imam Dicko, then dropped by the presidency, who suspected him of having greater ambitions. “Sacking Boubou Cissé will not help because the two camps will not agree on any name”, considers a mediator, while indicating that the current prime minister has developed strong enmities in the presidential entourage after he was received in September 2019 by French President Emmanuel Macron. Behind the current crisis are already the strategies for the 2023 election.