The way out of the Malian political crisis first lies in the hands of the citizenry, a Senior Mediation Adviser at the United Nations (UN) Department of Political and Peace building Affairs, Emmanuel Bombande, has said.
“This requires a frank, honest and transparent dialogue inclusive of all Malians and key stakeholders in order that they can build a consensus on the urgent social and political reforms that can make peace and stability sustainable,” he said.
The Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana was speaking at a virtual conference organised by the Council on Foreign Relations Ghana (CFR Ghana) on Friday on the theme “The Malian Crisis: which way forward?”
The event which is part of a series of conferences being held by the Council was to create the platform for dispassionate reflections of the Mali situation and possible solutions.
Mali, the eighth-largest country in Africa, has been grappling with a political crisis that has lingered for over a year during which two Coup d’états have been staged by a military junta.
The recent coup orchestrated about three weeks ago comes halfway to the end of the agreed transition period following last year’s Coup d’état that led to the ousting of the presidency.
TheEconomic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has since condemned the development, suspended the country from the regional bloc while working to help resolve the situation.
Mr Bombande said the expected stability in Mali would happen if the current transitional process was successfully completed for constitutional order and democratic rule to return in 2022.
“The respect for the democratic rule of law can now be the foundation to go back and pick the very important and address issues about how to consolidate peace and stability,” he said.
Mr Bombande said the current Malian situation was tied to the concerns of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), an alliance of rebel groups in northern Mali, on the effective implementation of the Algiers agreement for peace and reconciliation which the Malian government signed with the group in 2015.
However, he said, the concerns which included urgent revision of the Malian constitution, the reconstitution and reintegration of the Malian army, could not be done amidst the current situation with the illegal military leadership in place.
He said the key principles of the Algiers agreement included respect for national unity, territorial integrity, the sovereignty of Mali, promotion of cultural diversity, balanced development, rejection of violence as a means of political expression and the use of dialogue to address all differences.
Mr Bombande said both coups were, therefore, in direct violation of the agreement hence the need for all parties to honour their commitment to the agreement to promote peace and stability.
He also urged stakeholders in the country to heed to the advice and recommendations of AU and ECOWAS and allow the transitional government to complete its work and return the country to constitutional rule so that all outstanding issues could be resolved amicably.
Another discussant, Mbaranga Gasarabwe, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN /Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Mali, said peace and stability in the country were feasible if all stakeholders committed to it.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR
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