Dr. Kaderi Bukari, a Research Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies, University of Cape Coast, has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to court the support of the international community to find a lasting solution to the crisis in Mali.
ECOWAS and the military government in Mali have been at loggerheads following disagreement between the two as to when the latter is expected to hand over political power of the West Africa nation to a civilian government.
On Sunday, January 9, 2022, ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), imposed a raft of economic and diplomatic sanctions on the country in response to the Malian military leaders’ desire to push back elections until 2025.
The sanctions include the closure of members’ land and air borders with Mali, the suspension of non-essential financial transactions, and the freezing of Malian state assets in ECOWAS central and commercial banks.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the issue, on Tuesday, via phone, Dr. Bukari, underscored the need for the West African economic bloc to find immediate and a lasting solution to the crisis.
He said though the sanctions meted out to the Malian government by ECOWAS was in the right direction, it would only worsen the economic situation of the ordinary civilians in the country.
“It is good to sanction countries, especially using the ECOWAS protocols and the laws that are enshrined in the ECOWAS Treaty, but the problem is that as to whether we will be able to enforce these laws is the question.
“If you economically sanction Mali, the military leaders don’t care. They will be able to get whatever they want as well as do whatever they want. However, the problem is that the ordinary man is going to be the one to suffer. The people of Mali are going to be the one to suffer from these sanctions and not the military leaders,” he noted.
Dr. Bukari explained that seeking the intervention and assistance of the international community, especially France, would therefore, help mount the needed pressure on the Malian military junta to return the country to civilian rule in the shortest possible time.
“So, my suggestion is that ECOWAS needs to liaise with the international community, especially the powers that be; the USA, the European Union and the UN in general. We need to liaise with these people and actually put pressure on the military junta to hand over power immediately,” he emphasised.
In August 2020, army officers, led by Colonel Assimi Goita, toppled the elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita amid street protests.
Under threat of sanctions, Goita subsequently promised to restore civilian rule in February 2022 after holding presidential and legislative elections, but he staged a de facto second coup last May, forcing out an interim civilian government.
The move disrupted the reform timetable and was met with widespread diplomatic condemnation.