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Mali coup leaders promise elections in ‘reasonable’ time



Soldiers who toppled Mali’s president in a coup Tuesday are pledging to hold new elections within what they say is a “reasonable” time.

The coup leaders call themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People. They went on national television Wednesday, saying they took over the government to avoid further anarchy and insecurity. Colonel Ismael Wague said the soldiers are eager for stability, not power. 

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned late Tuesday, hours after he was arrested following months of political turmoil in the West African nation. Wearing a surgical mask because of the coronavirus outbreak, a weary-looking Keita appeared on state television to announce he was stepping down to avoid any bloodshed.

The 75-year-old deposed leader said if “certain elements” of the military wanted to end his presidency, with “their intervention, do I really have a choice?” Keita also announced that his government and the National Assembly would be dissolved.

Much of the international community immediately condemned the military coup. The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, sealed its member states’ borders with Mali and suspended all financial transactions between Mali and its 14 other members. For now, ECOWAS  is removing Mali from its decision-making bodies. 

ECOWAS officials have called for sanctions on those it calls “putschists and their partners and collaborators.” 

In a closed-door meeting in New York, the UN Security Council expressed its “deep concern” and urged the soldiers to free all those under arrest. The council also underlined “the urgent need to restore rule of law and to move towards the return to constitutional order.”

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo called for “peaceful dialogue” to resolve the Malian crisis and said the freedom and safety of detained government officials and their families must be ensured.

J. Peter Pham, the US envoy to the Sahel region, issued a statement saying Washington is opposed to any “extra-constitutional change.”

Keita’s resignation capped a day of turmoil that began when soldiers seized weapons from an army base in the town of Kati and advanced on the capital of Bamako. A reporter in Mali told VOA’s English to Africa service that the soldiers “went on the rampage, got to the arsenals, got the guns, started shooting in the air, went out and cut off access to the camp.” 

Malian soldiers celebrate as the arrive at Independence Square in Bamako

Scores of anti-government protesters gathered in Bamako’s central square to cheer on the soldiers as they made their way to Keita’s house to arrest him.

The soldiers arrested Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse at Keita’s house and drove them back to Kati, the same camp where the 2012 coup that overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure began. The overthrow of Toure allowed Islamist militants to temporarily seize the northern half of Mali until a French-led military intervention drove them from power.

There have been no reports of casualties in Tuesday’s coup. Mali’s June 5 opposition movement has led months of anti-government protests in Mali over an economic crisis, corruption and Keita’s failure to quell the eight-year-old Islamic insurgency. Anger is also brewing over the disputed results of 31 legislative races held in April.

Clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces last month left at least 14 protesters dead and 154 injured.

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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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