The Malian Mutineers and the Power of Protests

The Malian Mutineers and the Power of Protests

The president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, resigned this week after he was detained by military officers. Mali has been rattled by mass protests against corruption and escalating insecurity in the country. Since 2012, militants have made Mali largely ungovernable. This resignation mirrors Sudan’s  Omar al-Bashir who lost power over bread after mass protests. Sure, the style was different. The mutineers, going with the name the “National Committee for the Salvation of the People,” have called on Mali’s civil society and political movements to come together towards creating an ecosystem for a political transition. 

Meanwhile, Nigeria, the superpower in the region, has rejected the coup and has requested an immediate restoration of democratic system. Of course, for months now, Nigeria has been unable to stop the protests in Mali through its emissaries, coordinated by former President Goodluck Jonathan. So, we will be watching if Malians return to work after the boys left the barracks for the presidential villa.

The Nigerian government has called for the immediate and unconditional restoration of constitutional order in Mali following the coup that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made the call on behalf of the Nigerian government via his verified Twitter handle @GeoffreyOnyeama on Wednesday.

Mr Onyeama said Nigeria also welcomed the urgent activation of the ECOWAS Standby Force.

“The Nigerian government unequivocally condemns the coup d’état that took place in Mali on Tuesday and demands the immediate and unconditional restoration of constitutional order.

‘We welcome the urgent activation of the ECOWAS Standby Force,” Mr Onyeama said.

No one knows tomorrow for Mali. But it is evident that protests can bring change. I am not sure these soldiers would have done what they did without the citizens marching on the streets. Yet, it is not yet uhuru as counting on soldiers could be an optical illusion. But here, with the government and the main opposition party severely lost on power tussles, these soldiers could provide an umbrella for a new chapter. The key would be to task them to finish this transition process in months.

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