President of Ghana and Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the restoration of democratic rule in Mali is not negotiable, as he urged his colleague West African Heads of State to remain resolute and to bring their perspectives on how same can be achieved.
Delivering his opening remarks in his capacity as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at an Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit held at the Kempinski Hotel, today the 30th of May 2021, on the situation in Mali, President Akufo-Addo said recent happenings in Mali may have derailed the 18-month transition arrangement of the ECOWAS, which came into effect September 2020, but ECOWAS Heads of State had a new opportunity at the current summit to review the ongoing situation to fine-tune the way forward for the peace and stability of the Republic of Mali.
“The recent happening in Mali have again raised the anxiety levels of the region and has somewhat shaken the hope many had for a peaceful, successful transition which will result in the return to a democratic government in Mali and ultimately and hopefully, the political stability of the country,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Second Coup d’etat
Following a coup de’tat in Mali led by Colonel Assimi Goita in August 2020, ECOWAS Heads of State intervened and got a transitional team in motion towards the restoration of democratic governance and stability in Mali. However, on the 24th of May 2021, another coup de’tat took place in Mali, which effectively led to the resignation of the transitional President and Prime Minister.
“The sudden dissolution by the President of the transition of the government headed by the Prime Minister Modibo Keita on 14th May 2021 and the reappointment of the Prime Minister by the President of the transition with the instruments to form a new broad based government generated considerable tension between various groups, particularly the Military as the former Ministers for Defence and Security were not reappointed in the new government that was announced on 24th May 2021,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
“It is unfortunate that this dissolution of the transitional government occurred just a few days after the visit of the mediator, His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan, who was not informed by the transitional authorities of this development. Following the announcement of the new government, the President and the Prime Minister of the transition government were held in custody by the military. In view of the gravity of this situation, I asked the mediator to lead a high-level mission to Mali, which included the Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, and the President of the Commission, to assess the situation and report back to me,” President Akufo-Addo further noted.
Intervention of High-Level Mission to Mali
According to President Akufo-Addo, “The ECOWAS delegation held consultations with Colonel Assimi Goita, Vice President of the transition government, on the situation at hand, to consider the most appropriate exit strategy to the crisis. The ECOWAS delegation demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the President and Prime Minister of the transition and other detainees.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, “The delegation was able to meet with the President of the transition and the Prime Minister on Wednesday, 26th May 2021, who informed them that they had tendered their resignation.”
“Later that night, these two most senior transition officials were released from detention. The remaining detainees, according to the military hierarchy, have also been released,” President Akufo-Addo pointed out.
Plea to ECOWAS Heads of State
To this end, President Akufo-Addo urged his contemporaries to “remain resolute in supporting the people of Mali to find a peaceful solution and restore democracy and stability in the country. In this respect, we must critically examine the dynamics of the current situation and make informed decisions.”
“I am thus using this opportunity to reiterate on behalf of ECOWAS, our continued commitment to the peaceful transition in Mali with the basic goal of restoring democratic government and working for the stability of Mali and of the government,” President Akufo-Addo added.