Mali Launches Four-Day National Forum On Return To Civilian Rule

Mali Launches Four-Day National Forum On Return To Civilian Rule (News Central TV)

The military junta in Mali has commenced a four-day national forum on returning the country to civilian rule following the country’s August 2020 coup.

Dubbed the “National Conference on Reform,” it was planned to foster public trust and ignite trust in the democratisation process. Most opposition groups are already criticising it, saying they’ll boycott it.

Mali’s transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goita, said at the opening ceremony on Monday, that the meeting “will make an unflinching assessment of the state of the nation [and] draw the best lessons from it.”

Mali’s transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goita

“It will also be your task to make concrete proposals, to devise a solution for ending the crisis,” he said.

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Mali has enjoyed only brief spells of political stability since it gained independence from France in 1960.

In August 2020, young officers loyal to Goita toppled the country’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after weeks of street protests over perceived corruption and his handling of a bloody uprising.

Under pressure from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS and the international community, Goita pledged Mali would return to civilian rule in February 2022 after holding presidential and legislative elections.

However, in May this year, he staged a de facto second coup, forcing out an interim civilian government and disrupting the timetable.

On December 12, Goita told ECOWAS that he would provide it with a new election schedule by January 31.

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Mali has a long history of national consultations to discuss problems and recommend solutions. However several parties and social organisations have snubbed the process this time, demanding the swift holding of elections or criticising the discussions as fruitless.

The national forum follows meetings at the local level, which were held in 51 out of 60 areas, the exceptions being in the northern regions of Kidal and Menaka. They were also held in 26 foreign locations for the Malian diaspora.

Mali plunged into bloodshed in 2012 when Tuareg rebels launched a rebellion in the north, leaving many died and hundreds of thousands internally displaced.

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