MALI’S INTERIM-MILITARY ruler, Colonel Assimi Goita, led a coup in Mali, in May, 2021, that dislodged the civilian government. He seemed prepared to test the will of the sub-regional leaders, under the Economic Commission of West African State, ECOWAS, by abandoning earlier scheduled transition timetable that will lead the country to democratic government in February 2022.
The military-led government Transition Authority has rescheduled the transition timetable to return the country to democracy, with the presidential election to hold in December 2025 – about five years ahead. ECOWAS leaders seemed irked by the prolonged delay by the Mali’s military junta to return the country to full democracy, which the leaders deemed unacceptable.
ECOWAS leaders, at an extraordinary meeting in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, on Sunday, announced range of further sanctions on Mali, to compel the military junta to return power to democratically elected government, at the earliest possible date.
They decided, as sanctions, to recall Ambassadors of ECOWAS Members States to Mali for consultations; close land air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali; suspend all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Members States and Mali – with exception of food products, pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and equipment, such as materials for containing the spread of Covid-19, petroleum products and electricity.
Freeze assets of Republic of Mali in the sub-region’s Central Banks; freeze assets of Malian State and State Enterprises and Parastatals in commercial banks; suspend Mali from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, principally – ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, EBID, and Banque Ouest-Africaine de Développement, BOAD.
Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanian President and ECOWAS Chairman, presided over the regional body’s meeting. He restated opposition of the body to the presence of what he descried as “private military contractors”; which analysts say, could mean reference to Russia’s support to Mali.
Analysts see the new sanctions as both workable and commendable. But predicted that the sanctions could hit hard on Mali’s ordinary citizens, who will find it challenging to carryout financial transaction, especially, withdrawing money from banks in which ECOWAS freeze Malian assets and finances, at West African Central Bank based in Senegal.
Analysts believe that the sanctions on Mali could be further demonstration of strong resolve and message by ECOWAS leaders, that the era of needless military incursions, and aborting democracy and usurping power in the sub-region should be old-fashioned.