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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio advises Mali on transition, reiterates position on two-term limit in ECOWAS member states

Assimi Goita, who headed a junta which seized power less than a year ago had promised elections in 2022 (PHOTO /Courtesy).

Assimi Goita, who headed a junta which seized power less than a year ago had promised elections in 2022 (PHOTO /Courtesy).

BAMAKO—His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has advised the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government meeting in Ghana on the way out of the impasse in Mali, insisting on an earlier position for a return to constitutional rule and two-term limit in member states.

“While we could argue that electoral politics is possible even in the midst of a violent insurgency, we must first agree on what ecosystem should exist within which credible elections can happen. In agreeing to a time frame for the Malian junta to fully comply with ECOWAS dicta, we should therefore be mindful of the unique complexities of the Malian crisis,” he said.

He, therefore, urged his colleagues to galvanise their collective efforts to agree on a practicable timeline with concrete checkpoints and benchmarks on an agreed pathway to returning the Republic of Mali to constitutional order within the shortest possible time.

“Let me also take this opportunity to reiterate my Government’s support for the draft revised Protocol on Democracy and good governance as well as the constitutional issue of a two-term limit. Sierra Leone believes that the two-term limit must be included in the national constitutions of all Member States.

“On numerous occasions, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State has called on Mali to return the country to constitutional order by February 2022. But it is also clear to all of us, that the Transitional Leadership of the Malian junta is unable to do so based on communications submitted to the Chair of Authority,” he noted.

He added that there was already an impasse and that as leaders in the ECOWAS region they needed to find a solution to that impasse by first agreeing that the proposed period of 5 years by the Transition Leadership was excessive, especially in view of the fact that the current leadership had been in power for over 18 months now.

“Excellencies, without a doubt, Mali has violated the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of 2001 by toppling the government of former President Ibrahima Boubacar Keita in 2020. It was an unconstitutional act.

“But Excellencies, the issue before us today is what to do collectively to ensure that Mali complies with the ECOWAS norms on democracy and good governance and within the shortest possible timeline,” he concluded.

In agreeing to a time frame for the Malian junta to fully comply with ECOWAS dicta, we should therefore be mindful of the unique complexities of the Malian crisis.

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