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Mali crisis: From disputed election to president’s detention | News



For months, Mali has been mired in an escalating political crisis marked by large anti-government rallies and failed mediation attempts by regional leaders wary of further instability in the country.

Political tension has been simmering following the re-election of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in 2018, in a poll that opposition parties said was marred by irregularities.

Friction rose earlier this year after a dispute over the results of a parliamentary election prompted tens of thousands to take to the streets to demand Keita’s resignation. The demonstrators accused Keita of failing to fix the country’s dire economic situation and contain a years-long armed campaign by various groups that has killed thousands and rendered vast swaths of Mali ungovernable.

The tension culminated on Tuesday when mutinying soldiers detained Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other top government officials, a dramatic escalation that was condemned by regional and international powers.

Here is a timeline of what has led to the latest unrest:

Disputed elections

On March 26, veteran opposition leader Soumaila Cisse is abducted by unidentified gunmen along with six members of his team while campaigning in the conflict-hit centre of the country, just days before the long-delayed parliamentary election.

Just hours before polls open on March 29, the impoverished country of some 19 million people marks its first death due to the new coronavirus, raising concerns that it is particularly exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The first round of parliamentary vote proceeds despite the threat of coronavirus threat and security fears about possible attacks by armed groups.

The second round, on April 19, is disrupted by incidents which prevent some voters from casting their ballots.

On April 30, Mali’s Constitutional Court overturned the results for 31 seats, handing Keita’s party 10 more parliamentary seats, making it the largest bloc. The court’s decision sparks protests in several cities.

Calls for president to resign

On May 30, the main opposition parties, as well as civil society groups, form a new opposition alliance, called “Movement of June 5 – Rally of Patriotic Forces”.

The alliance calls for a demonstration to demand Keita’s resignation.

Largely led by influential Muslim leader Mahmoud Dicko, thousands of people take to the streets of Mali’s capital, Bamako, on June 5, condemning what they say is the president’s mishandling of many crises plaguing the country.

On June 11, Keita reappoints Boubou Cisse as prime minister and tasks him with forming the new government.

But thousands of protesters gather to demonstrate again on June 19, under the umbrella of the June 5 Movement, reiterating their demands for Keita’s departure.

In early July, Keita floats political reforms in a bid to appease opponents, but they are all rejected. The protest movement’s leaders continue to call for parliament to be dissolved and urge for civil disobedience.

Worst political strife in years

On July 10, mass protests turn violent.

At least 14 people are killed in three days of clashes between security forces and protesters, in the worst political strife Mali has seen in years.

Alliance rejects plan by mediators

On July 18, the opposition alliance rejects a plan proposed by international mediators to defuse tensions.

After several meetings with a delegation from the 15-nation ECOWAS bloc, led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, the June 5 Movement says the president’s departure is a “red line” for the mediators.

On July 27, ECOWAS calls for the swift creation of a unity government in Mali, warning of sanctions against those standing in the way.

The opposition rejects the plan and insists the president stand down.

Keita detained

On August 10, Keita swore in nine new judges to the Constitutional Court, part of an ECOWAS suggestion for resolving the dispute.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, who has reported extensively on Mali, noted that the new judges had been nominated by a Keita ally.

The appointments, Haque said, added “fuel to the fire in this feeling amongst protesters that Keita is abusing power by bringing allies close to him”.

After a pause, anti-government protests resume on August 11, with demonstrators ignoring pleas from regional mediators to avoid taking to the streets.

The following day, on August 12, Malian security forces fire tear gas and use a water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters who camped out at a square in the capital.

The opposition declares on August 17 that it will stage daily protests culminating in a mass rally in Bamako at the end of the week.

On August 18Keita and Cisse are detained by soldiers who earlier in the day staged a mutiny at a key base in Kati, a garrison town just outside Bamako.

Opposition protesters gather at a square in Bamako in a show of support for the soldiers while regional and international powers urge the troops to return to the barracks and foreign embassies advise their citizens to stay indoors.

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge



Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.



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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?



The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail



Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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