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Mali opposition, military join rally to celebrate Keita’s removal | News

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Mali’s opposition supporters have flooded into Bamako’s central square to celebrate the military overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, which their leaders hailed as a “victory of the Malian people”.

Thousands on Friday gathered in the capital’s Independence Square, the birthplace of a months-long protest movement, many of them draped in Mali’s national flag and blasting on vuvuzela horns.

They rallied three days after mutinying troops seized the country’s 75-year-old president, forced him to announce his resignation and unveiled a military government that would rule until a “transitional president” takes over.

“We have come here to thank you, to thank the Malian public for its support. We merely completed the work that you began and we recognise ourselves in your fight,” the military government’s spokesman, Ismael Wague, said.

Some of the placards brandished in the rally reflected resentment at perceived foreign interference in Mali’s affairs [Annie Risemberg/AFP]

Keita, who was elected for a second five-year term in 2018, announced his resignation on Wednesday, saying he had been given no other choice and wanted to avoid bloodshed.

The coup came after months of protests, staged by a loose coalition called the June 5 Movement, that were fuelled by anger at Keita’s failure to stem a bloody rebellion, revive the economy and tackle corruption.

‘We won’

In contrast to fierce condemnation abroad at the overthrow of an elected leader, many in the rally were jubilant at the change as they sang, danced and waved banners thanking the mutineers.

“I am overjoyed! We won. We came here to thank all the people of Mali, because this is the victory of the people,” said opposition supporter Mariam Cisse, 38.

Ousmane Diallo, a retired soldier aged 62, said, “We are here to celebrate the victory of the people. Just the victory of the people.”

“IBK has failed,” he said, using a common reference to the former president by his initials. “The people are victorious.”

But, he cautioned, “The military should not be thinking now that they can stay in power.”

MALI DEMONSTRATION 2

Malians celebrate the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in capital Bamako [Annie Risemberg/AFP]

“It’s a scene of joy. God delivered us from the hands of evil, we are happy, we are behind our army,” said a 59-year-old farmer who gave his name only as Souleymane.

Some of the placards brandished in the rally reflected resentment at perceived foreign interference in Mali’s affairs.

One read, “ECOWAS, a union of heads of state serving personal interests,” a reference to the 15-nation regional bloc that has led the condemnation of the coup and stands by Keita.

The bloc is to send envoys led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday.

Another sign had the words “Barkhane” and “MINUSMA” crossed out, the latter a reference to the United Nation’s peacekeeping force in Mali.

US halts military cooperation

Meanwhile, Keita’s removal has dismayed Mali’s international partners, who fear it could further destabilise the former French colony and West Africa’s entire Sahel region.

The United States on Friday said it had suspended cooperation with Mali’s military in response to what the Pentagon referred to as an “act of mutiny”.

“Let me say categorically there is no further training or support of Malian armed forces full-stop. We have halted everything until such time as we can clarify the situation,” the US Sahel envoy J Peter Pham told journalists.

The US regularly provides training to soldiers in Mali, including several of the officers who led the coup. It also offers intelligence support to France’s Barkhane forces, who are there to fight affiliates of al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS).

Pham said a decision on whether Washington would designate the actions a coup – which could trigger a cut-off of direct support to the government – had to go through a legal review.

Will Mali’s coup leaders hand over power to civilians? | Inside Story



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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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:

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.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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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

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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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