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[LISTEN] The Africa Report: ECOWAS Imposes Sanctions Against Mali

Jan 19, 2022

Umm Muhammed Umar

Radio Islam spoke to the Head of the Africa Desk at the Media Review Network, Dr Mustafa Mheta, for the Africa Report.

Dr Mehta commented on the recently imposed sanctions on Mali by the West African community, saying that they had disciplined one of their own for not “towing the line”. He said that the news had made him proud, and had given him hope in African institutions. Dr Mehta said that ECOWAS has a very good track record of disciplining its members. He said that when General Assimi Goïta, who has served as interim President of Mali since 24 May 2021, came to power, he promised to give a date when Mali would revert to civilian rule. Mheta said, “And the time came, and he now changes and is talking of maybe having a transition to civilian rule after, you know, within between three to four years from now, and then they say no, wait a minute, this is not what we agreed on. Why are you extending?” ECOWAS has thus followed up with sanctions, closing Mali’s borders, as well as with military, economic and other sanctions. Mheta said, “It is a good lesson, you know, for him; he needs to toe the line. Yes. He needs to.”

Asked to draw a comparison between the SADC and ECOWAS, the two regional bodies, Dr Mheta said that SADC did not inspire pride like ECOWAS did. He said, “its pathetic, the history of SADC.” SADC had been formed even before ECOWAS, well before Zimbabwean independence. he added that SADC has never enforced the rules that they themselves had created, and has disciplined anyone for over stepping. Dr Mheta said, “SADC will always, you know, support the position of the incumbent, the leader that is in power, and they protect one another.” He gave the example of Eswatini:” Swaziland is not at peace, but they are quiet, and they go in, they have lunch, you know, in the palaces of, you know, the king, and come out. Nothing happens.”

About Sudan, Dr Mheta was not optimistic following resignation of former Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok. He said that Hamdok’s resignation had left a very big vacuum. There were still protests in Sudan, which the military continued to suppress, “to please their external masters”. Dr Mheta added, “You know, those who pay them to continue, you know, suppressing the people of Sudan.” He said that the pro-democracy parties were also pushing for democracy to prevail, but that the military was having none of it.

De Mheta did, however, say, “But as of late I heard that the they’ve agreed to mediation, and this mediation will be convened by the United Nations. So, it remained to be seen as to what would transpire.

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