By Ralph Christopher
As a means of resolving Mali’s lingering political crisis, the mediation team of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by former President Goodluck Jonathan, has recommended the formation of a Government of National Unity with members drawn from different interest groups in the country, including the ruling coalition, the opposition parties and the civil society.
It also recommended the establishment of a technical committee to be set up by ECOWAS to monitor the implementation of the proposed measures which also include the reconstitution of the dissolved constitutional court as well as the resolution of the dispute over 31 legislative seats recently set aside by the defunct constitutional court.
Jonathan, who is ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, led his mediation team on a three day mission to Mali which ended on Sunday, with a view to finding a solution to the socio-political crisis in Mali.
The mission’s communiqué issued at a press conference in Bamako on Sunday stated: “As a matter of urgency, there is the need to put in place a government of national unity, based on consensus and taking into account the recommendations of the Inclusive National Dialogue, the implementation of the Mali Peace and Reconciliation Agreement resulting from the Algiers process.”
According to the document, the proposed government will have 50 per cent of its members drawn from the ruling coalition while the opposition and civil society groups will produce 30 per cent and 20 per cent of its membership, respectively.
The communiqué signed by Dr. Jonathan stated further: “A Technical Committee will be put in place by ECOWAS to monitor and follow up on the implementation of the proposed measures.
This Committee will comprise of the representatives of the Government, Parliament, civil society, the Judiciary, Women and Youth associations, and the ECOWAS Representation in Mali.”
While in Bamako for a month after the visit of ECOWAS Ministerial Mission held consultations with different stakeholders including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, Imam Mahmoud Dicko, members of the M5-RFP collation, the majority coalition in Parliament, judges, heads of international agencies, diplomats, members of Civil Society as well as women and youth groups.
While many stakeholders and interest groups welcomed the proposed unity government, it is not however clear whether members of the opposition backed M5 Coalition will be part of it, as they continued to insist on the resignation of President Keita among other tough demands during the many meetings they had with the Jonathan-led team.
The mission urged Malians not to take laws into their hands, and reminded them of the importance of respecting their institutions, “particularly the constitutional means of ascending to power, in conformity with the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.”
“The Mediation Mission welcomes the support of the proposed measures by all the stakeholders met, with the exception of the Strategic Committee of the M5-RFP. “ECOWAS will monitor the effective implementation of the proposed measures and remain seized of the matter.
“The Mission reiterates ECOWAS’ solidarity with the Government of Mali and the family of Honourable Soumaïla CISSE, President of the Union for the Republic and Democracy party, Leader of the Opposition, who has been kidnapped since March 2020.
“It invites the Malian Government to intensify its efforts to obtain his release without delay.
“Furthermore, the Mission encourages all the stakeholders to resort to dialogue and negotiation to resolve the socio-political crisis in good faith and mutual trust with a view to sustaining peace and security in the country.”
The Mission expressed its condolences to the people and the Government of Mali for the loss of lives during recent demonstrations in Bamako and condemned all forms of violence while calling on all parties to exercise restraint.