President of Mali Resigned after Soldiers’ Mutiny

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President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced resigning on August 18th 2020, Tuesday. Mr Keita’s final term end is due three years later, but from two months there have been regular demonstrations calling him to resign and step down. The announcement made on the state TV was a few hours later the firing in the air outside his home by the mutinous soldiers, where he also added dissolving the parliament and the government.

Mr Keita won in the elections of 2018, but the anger due to corruption, legislative election-related disputes, and economic mismanagement continued. These all led to several protests carried out recently. There has also been anger about the pay and continuous conflicts with jihadists among the troops

President Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, both were taken near the capital Bamako, to a military camp, drawing an international appeal. Then the soldiers’ spokesperson called for a general election led by a civil political transition.

Mr Keita’s statements:

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Keita appeared on the television wearing a surgical mask and made a brief address for his resignation. He also asked what other choices he has if the armed forces want to end this through some interventions. He also added to his statement that he does not have any hatred for anyone, and his love for the nation does not allow him to have it. Also, he added his wishes at the end for God to save all.

Soldiers’ statements and views:

On the morning of Wednesday, August 19th, 2020, on behalf of the National Committee for the Salvation of People, a report was read out on the television.

Col-Major Ismael Wague, staff’s Air force deputy chief said, he invites the political and social movements and the Civil society to join the army force in creating the best conditions leading to the best civil political transitions. And eventually leading to the general elections to exercise democracy and laying the foundation for a new era in Mali.

He also added that all the land and air borders are shut, and there is a curfew from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM until any further notice comes. He concluded with a statement that Mali is sinking due to chaos and insecurity caused by the faults of those who are responsible for the country’s destiny.

More about the mutiny action:

Although it still is not clear about who began the mutiny and how many soldiers were a part of that, or who is going to take responsibility now. Some revelations state that it started with mutinying soldiers taking control over the Kati camp where the Prime Minister and the President were later made.

After conquering the Kati camp, which is around 9 miles (15 kilometres) from Bamako, the mutineers marched towards the country’s capital where the public cheered them and applauded for them. The crowd was of the citizens who demanded the resignation of Mr Keita. 

Later, on the afternoon of Tuesday, the soldiers distributed around Keita’s residence and arrested both the President and the Prime Minister who were present there. Keita’s son, who is the speaker of the National Assembly of Mali, and the finance and foreign ministers, all were the officers detained as reported. 

Kati camp has been the focus of mutiny in 2012 and also the other mid-ranking soldiers. They all were furious due to the Senior Commanders’ inability in stopping the Tuareg rebels and jihadists conquering the northern parts of Mali.

Reactions to the mutiny:

As the mutiny news broke out, the African Union and the United Nations called to release the people held by the soldiers.

The regional body Ecowas ( the Economic Community of West African States) mentioned that 15 member states of them agreed to close borders with Mali. All the financial flows to the country are suspended, and it is removed from the decision making bodies of Ecowas. Over the few months, Ecowas tried settling down the disputes between Mr Keita’s government and all the opposition groups.

To discuss Mali’s recent development, there is a meet scheduled on Wednesday of the UN Security Council. The former colonial ruler of Mali, France, also quickly condemned Mr Keita’s detention. Jean Yves Le Drian, the foreign minister, also urged the soldiers for returning to barracks. Mali is a crucial base for the French troops fighting across the Sahel region with Islamist insurgents.

M5 is an opposition movement led by Mahmoud Dicko, a conservative Imam, and he called the reforms after rejecting Mr Keita’s concession. He held the protests against Mr Keita for a few weeks and welcomed his resignation.

The bottom line

After the mutiny, the soldiers marched across Bamako’s streets, exhibiting their power and control over the capital.

The disruption unveiled a few months later the legislative elections, and the supporters of Mr Keita turned against him too due to the way of handling the Islamic insurgency by the government. This washed out the country that was once known to be a role model for democracy in that region.

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