Mali’s leader promises election timetable by new year

The leader of Mali’s military government says a timetable for a return to democratic rule will be announced by January 31.

Colonel Assimi Goita is seen sitting at a desk in front of a microphone with a mask on
Goita emerged as Mali's strongman leader after a coup that toppled former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020 [File: Francis Kokoroko/Reuters]

The head of Mali‘s military-dominated government on Sunday promised West Africa’s regional bloc that he would provide it with an election timetable by January 2022.

The head of Mali’s transitional government, Colonel Assimi Goita, justified postponing the election and holding a national consultation which he said would be “indispensable” for peace and stability.

“Mali… commits to providing you with a detailed timetable by January 31, 2022 at the latest that could be discussed during an ECOWAS mission,” Goita wrote to the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, in a letter obtained by AFP.

“The return to constitutional order is and will remain my number one priority,” Goita said.

The ECOWAS suspended Mali following two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021, sanctioning officials deemed responsible for delaying elections and threatening further measures.

ECOWAS leaders on Sunday threatened to impose further sanctions if Mali’s military rulers failed to stick by plans for February polls.

“The heads of state… decided to keep the (deadline) of February 27, 2022 for elections in Mali,” president of the West African ECOWAS bloc Jean-Claude Brou told reporters in Abuja, adding sanctions would be imposed in January if Mali did not move to stage polls.

Goita emerged as Mali’s strongman leader after a coup that toppled former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020.

Several civil society organisations are boycotting the consultation launched on Saturday.

The ECOWAS summit also discussed vaccine supplies, travel bans imposed on African countries and Guinea, which has been under military rule since September after a coup removed former president Alpha Conde.

Source: AFP