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African Coups: Chad Power Wrangling Continues; Mali Isolated

Jul 28, 2021

Umm Muhammed Umar 

Discussing the state of affairs in Mali since a coup took place there almost a year ago, the South African Institute for Security Studies’, Stephanie Walters, says it is of great concern that Mali seems unable to restore the rule of law. There had, a week ago, been an assassination attempt on the interim president, Colonel Assimi Goita. Goita had been attacked last Tuesday after Eid al-Adha prayers at the Great Mosque of Bamako, by a man wielding a knife. Walters told Radio Islam that his attacker was arrested, but subsequently died in custody. She said, “(This) of course raises a whole number of questions: first of all, how did he pass away in custody, and second of all, was he a lone wolf or was he part of another effort to destabilize this current transition?”

Elections are due to be held in Mali in 2022, but, ECOWAS, the Regional Economic Community, and the African Union have expelled Mali, because they consider this to be a coup d’etat. This is entirely unacceptable to the African Union cannot. Walters said, “there’s a lot of questions about how to keep Mali on track, how to continue to engage with Mali effectively, and how to make sure this transition government, which is effectively a military government, hands power back to civilian authority in a free and fair election in 2022.”

Shifting focus to Chad, which had also witnessed a coup, Walters said that one major point of contention is why the situation in Mali is considered to have been a coup, while the African Union and other international organizations accepted what is now call a transition after the death of President Idriss Déby. She says, “in fact it wasn’t constitutional. So, we now have a military Transition Council, they are attempting to have a national dialogue, which is meant to be inclusive, of course, of opposition parties and so on, we’ve seen the emergence of a new civil society movement which isn’t affiliated with any particular political party, (but) which is trying to put pressure on the transition authorities to improve human rights, but we’ve continued to see arrests, we’ve continued to see crackdowns on public protests.” Walters says of deep concern is what is happening in the former president’s ruling party. Déby’s ruling party had dominated Chadian politics for 30 years. Walters says that what is going on behind the scenes will determine the outcome of Chad’s future much more than things like the national dialogue. This is because the different players from that former political party are trying to position themselves for more power. With such power wrangling taking place times remain very uncertain for Chad.

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