Intent on averting further instability in Mali, a country that has been destabilised by series of armed conflicts that began in 2012, and has since spilled into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, ECOWAS Heads of State have come up with a strategic solution at its virtual Extraordinary Summit which was convened to examine the situation in Mali and take the necessary measures to restore peace and stability.
A four-point strategic condition was adopted by ECOWAS leaders in their resolution, which includes;
- The recommendation that 31 members of parliament whose elections were contested should step down and that by-elections be held.
- The call for an inquiry into the death of 11 people earlier in the month when anti-government protest resulted into clashes.
- Quick establishment of national unity government in the country;
- Rapid implementation of the plan within 10 days.
Standing firm on democratic principles, ECOWAS leaders reiterated their opposition to an unconstitutional removal of the Malian President, given that his election in 2013, and re-election five years later, was democratic and legitimate.
The leaders unanimously agreed in Point 10 of the communiqué stating, “The Heads of State and Government insisted on the importance and the need to respect the Constitutional means of ascending to power in conformity with the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance”.
The current political tension in Mali has been triggered by the decision of the Constitutional Court in April, to overturn the results of parliamentary polls for 31 seats in favour of candidates from Keita’s party.
This led to the emergency of the June 5 Movement; a coalition of political, religious and civil society leaders, who blame the President for a range of issues, including failure to tackle corruption, a slumping economy and prolonged Islamic insurgency. They are calling for his removal through nonstop demonstrations and that have sparked clashes between the protesters and security forces, resulting in many deaths.
Mediation efforts of the regional bloc began after weeks of these violent protests, in June, with the deployment of the ECOWAS Ministerial Mission to Bamako, to establish the diagnostics of the crisis, and propose solutions along with some recommendations.
This was followed a month later by the ECOWAS mediation mission led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, to help reduce the escalating tension. The latest leg of mediation was the unprecedented mediation mission, days after, by five West African leaders comprising Presidents of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, to Bamako, to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
The gravity and urgency of the socio-political situation in Mali necessitated the convening of a virtual Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.