Time to pay attention to Mali’s meltdown


Mali’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, may have appointed a prominent democracy advocate as the country’s youngest and first female foreign minister, but he faces a challenge in marrying stability and good governance, analysts suggest.

Keita has just been sworn in for a second five-year term after an election marred by violenceirregularities and low turnout, note Blair Glencorse, executive director of the Accountability Lab, and Moussa Kondo, director of Accountability Lab Mali and an Obama Foundation fellow. Many Malians told us that they bravely turned out to vote – not in favor of the government, but for a modicum of stability during increasingly difficult times.

For this reason, the president should not take the election as an endorsement of his current brand of venal and corrupt politics. Accountability to the Malian people is urgent to support development, stem terrorism and prevent the entire Sahel region of Africa from falling further into chaos, they write for The Washington Post:

Civil society, too, is determined and can be powerful when it remains united. The 2017 “Don’t Touch My Constitution” campaign, which brought together a variety of groups to thwart efforts to give additional powers for the president, demonstrated the strength in numbers and diversity of Mali’s activists. Watchdog groups have set up opportunities for citizens to speak to locally elected representatives about corruption in front of the media. And voices like that of the popular youth activist Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, a.k.a. Ras Bath, are also publicly questioning the behavior of the governing elite in a way that was previously unimaginable.

Kamissa Camara, (left) the newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, served previously as a foreign policy adviser to Keita and as Senior Program Officer for West & Central Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

Camara is also the founder and co-chair of the Sahel Strategy Forum, which provides a platform to stakeholders to promote peace, security and development across the Sahel.

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