ECOWAS Suspends Mali Over Coup

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended the membership of Mali to the subregional bloc.

The decision was taken on Sunday evening in Accra, Ghana during the extraordinary summit on the political crisis in Mali.

Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, announced the decision by the leaders to the media on the sidelines of the summit.

She recounted how the leaders had met before to resolve the crisis in Mali.

The situation in Mali is something that ECOWAS frowns upon, according to her.

She said the heads of State thought that the transition was ongoing smoothly towards the February 2022 return to Democratic Rule.

She added that the decision to suspend Mali was aimed at promoting Democratic Rule and good governance.

She said the security situation in Mali has repercussions for the rest of the West African subregion.

About 10 heads of State including Liberian President, George Weah, Cote d’ Ivoire President, Alassane Ouattara; Nigeria President, Muhammudu Buhari; Sierra Leone President, Julius Maada Bio, attended the summit.

Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, attended the summit.

The Junta leader of Mali, Assimi Goita, was also in attendance.

President Nana Akufo-Addo convened the Summit which aims at finding solution to the second coup d’tat in Mali in nine months.

*About the summit*

Earlier on Saturday, May 29, 2021, Madam Botchwey, gave details about the summit to the media at a press briefing.

The purpose of the summit is to enable the authorities deliberate and take consequential decision on the evolving security situation in Mali, according to her.

Mr Akufo-Addo chaired the summit in his capacity as Chairman of ECOWAS.

It was the second time Mr Akufo-Addo is hosting an extraordinary summit on Mali. The summit took place in 2020 at the Peduase Presidential Lodge in Aburi, Eastern Region of Ghana.

‘Release President, Prime Minister’

Already, the Mediators of ECOWAS in the Malian crisis, including former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, have demanded the immediate release of the transitional president and Prime Minister of Mali.

The Mediators made the call in a communique.

In the Communique directly made available to the media outlets by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, the mediators requested that President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, should be released.

Mali’s transitional leaders were on Monday, May 24, 2021, stripped off their powers by the army.

Since then, the President and Prime Minister have been in detention.

According to the foreign Minister, at the end of the summit tomorrow, a Communique will be issued.

At the behest of the President of the Republic, an ECOWAS Mediation team, led by H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator for Mali, embarked on a fact-finding mission to Mali from 25th to 26th May, 2021 to assess the situation and explore opportunities for the resolution of the crisis. H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will, therefore, report to the Summit on the outcome of the mission.

May I indicate that the convening of the Extraordinary Session demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the President of the Republic towards addressing the political situation in Mali.

“It would be recalled that barely a week after his assumption of office as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority, H.E. the President, convened an emergency Summit, held at Peduase, in response to the military intervention, which saw the ousting of the then President H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on 18th August, 2020. That meeting took important decisions, including a demand on the Malian authorities to ensure that the Transition Government was Civilian-led and should last for a period of eighteen (18) months, with effect from 15th September, 2020. The Summit also affirmed that once a civilian-led transition government had assumed office, ECOWAS within the context of its protocols will assist Mali to return to democratic governance. It is important to note that H.E. the President has since been at the centre of efforts, including mediation initiatives, to bring lasting peace and stability to Mali,” the Foreign Minister said.

“It is hoped that all the political actors in Mali will support the outcome of the Extraordinary Summit to be held tomorrow in order to restore constitutional order in our sister country as soon as practicable. The outcome of the Summit will be critical to sustaining the momentum for the return of democracy and stability in Mali,” she stressed.

By Melvin Tarlue