Pan-Africanists advocate peace in Mali to enhance wellbeing of citizenry

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Mali
Mali

Ms Coumba Toure, a Pan-Africanist and Movement Coordinator for Africans Rising, has said it was important that stakeholders worked assiduously for peace to prevail in Mali, a country hard hit by political crisis in recent times.

“We are asking that the negotiation and discussion to bring the country back to civil rule be done without harming the women and children.

“Closing borders and restricting the exchanges amongst the people will do more harm to the people who are already struggling,” Ms Toure told the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Kumasi, in an interview.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government, in a statement issued on January 09, this year, said that the country’s transitional authorities had failed to comply with an agreement reached with the regional bloc in September, which maps a return to civilian rule in line with the country’s own Transition Charter.

A coup in May last year, was Mali’s second in the last two years.

In response, the West African grouping decided to maintain existing sanctions and impose new ones with immediate effect in the strictest action yet against the Sahel country.

They include immediate recall of ECOWAS Ambassadors from Mali, closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and the embattled country, as well as the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions except for food, pharmaceutical, and medical products, petroleum products, and electricity.

The actions also encompass the freezing of Mali’s assets in ECOWAS central banks and commercial banks and suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and Banque Ouest-Africaine de Développement (BOAD).

Ms Toure described the plight of the Malian people, especially the civilian population, as unfortunate given the hardships they had seen in recent years due to the political developments in the Sahelian country.

“We are asking the ECOWAS to pull back the sanctions that affect the people of Mali,” the Pan-Africanist appealed.

Sanctions were originally imposed in August 2020, after a coup led by Colonel Assimi Goita overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, following months of street protests and years of instability.

The West African grouping relaxed sanctions in October the same year, after the Transition Plan for a return to civilian rule within 18 months was drawn up, naming a new transitional government.

However, in May 2021, Goita staged a second coup, leading to the imposition of full sanctions on January 09, after the military regime announced that elections might not take place before 2025.

According to the ECOWAS leaders, the new calendar would be tantamount to “taking the Malian people hostage for five years”.

The military government has argued that establishing security in the country was necessary before elections could be carried out.

Large swathes of the country have remained outside government control for years due to jihadist and separatist insurrections.

According to World Vision, an international organization, the greatest needs of children and families in Mali were food security, health, and all aspects of child protection.

“Without reliable sources of food, families are cutting back on how much they eat and more children are becoming malnourished. As many as 4.3 million people do not have enough food,” says the international organization.

“With children vulnerable to violence and recruitment into armed groups, they need opportunities for education and strong support systems within their families and communities.”

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