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World

Opposition grows to military role in post-coup Mali

  • The opposition alliance also pointed out that Goita remains the leader of the military junta, which was never formally dissolved.
12 Nov 2020

BAMAKO: A leading opposition group on Wednesday warned of a military stranglehold on Mali's post-coup government and called for "resistance.... to save democracy" in the Sahel state.

The statement from the opposition June 5 Movement, or M5, follows a decree published on Tuesday that gave coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita veto power over Mali's new legislative body.

M5 is an alliance of political parties, trade unions and religious figures that was at the forefront of protests against president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita this year, which culminated in a military coup on August 18.

Facing international sanctions, the putschists handed power to an interim civilian government between September and October. This administration is meant to rule for 18 months before staging elections.

But Mali's military retains a strong role in the interim government. Retired army colonel Bah Ndaw is serving as interim president, while junta head Goita is his vice president.

The government on Tuesday also empowered Goita to sign off on members of the 121-seat national transition council, which is the planned interim legislative body.

"It is unacceptable that the vice president of the transition... should have censorship power to choose between good and bad candidates," M5 said in a statement late Wednesday.

The opposition alliance also pointed out that Goita remains the leader of the military junta, which was never formally dissolved.

M5 is set to receive eight seats in the 121-seat interim council, according to recently published decrees. Members of the defence and security forces are set to receive 22.

The M5 declared it would not serve "as a stooge for a disguised military regime".

It called on "all patriotic, political and social forces to come together, to return to resistance and stand together to save democracy and the republic."

Outside of the capital Bamako, Mali has been struggling to contain a brutal jihadist insurgency which first emerged in 2012.

Anger over the enduring conflict, as well as over perceived corruption, contributed to the protests which culminated in Keita's ouster.