By Assan Sallah.
The decision of the Malian soldiers to take up arms to overthrow the democratically elected president Ibrahim Boubacarr Keita, following weeks of political crisis that has seen opposition protesters taking to the streets to demand the president’s resignation, is unconstitutional, illegal and uncalled for.
Recently, Malians took to the streets protesting against corruption, economic mismanagement, the failure of the government to handle the Islamists uprising in the North, communal violence in the Northern part of their country, and the government’s attempt to nullify the results of the March and April elections, etc.
However, these problems arise because of bad governance and; therefore, the military intervention should have be done at the invitation of the civilian authority to calm the situation and bring the country back to normalcy.
The government on the other hand, should listen to the citizens’ demands and work towards the collective interest inline with democratic principles, best practices, and good governance.
The military coup should be condemned by everyone, governments, organisations, and institutions as there is no motive behind it (the takeover). Currently, there is zero tolerance for military takeover worldwide and the mutineers should be stopped. Military takeover is a non-starter and is not the solution to the problems that Malians are faced with.
In fact, in a real military takeover, the coup plotters should give an Immediate Declaration within 12 hours or less than 24 hours, to justify the takeover and to win the hearts and minds of the people, which I have not yet heard in Tuesday’s military takeover in Mali.
All the reports we heard are the takeover, and arrest and detention of the democratically elected president and his Prime Minister.
Therefore, one can say that the coup plotters are hiding behind the country’s political crisis and to some extent, the civil unrest in one part of the country, to do what they want to do.
A democratically elected president can only be removed through the ballot box but not otherwise.
The coup plotters should release President Ibrahim Boubacarr Keita and his Prime Minister Cisse, and then propose a Dialogue between them, the opposition leaders, the government, civil society organisations, opinion leaders, local representatives, ECOWAS, AU and the UN, to return that country to normalcy.
ECOWAS, AU and the UN should also speedy up their mediation efforts before the crisis deepens.
Africa has had enough of military takeovers and it should be stopped. As long as President Keita is alive, he should be taken back to the Presidential Palace to occupy the seat of the presidency until the next elections.
Remember, we live in a volatile region and we must strive to nurture the peace!