Connect with us

News

Mali’s coup is cheered at home but upsets neighbours

Published

on


Image copyright
EPA

Crowds rejoiced after a group of colonels seized power in Mali, a vast country stretching into the Sahara, where troops – including French soldiers and UN peacekeepers – are fighting jihadist groups, but not everyone is happy, writes West Africa analyst Paul Melly.

Negotiations are rumoured to be under way for the exile of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, deposed as president of Mali in a military putsch on Tuesday and currently detained with his son, his Prime Minister Boubou Cissé and a number of other senior government officials.

But now Ecowas, the West African regional bloc to which Mali belongs, has laid down a firm line, with member heads of state issuing a call for Mr Keïta’s reinstatement as president.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionFive factors that made the coup against the former Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta more likely

The weary-sounding 75-year-old had announced his enforced resignation in a televised statement around midnight on Tuesday, apparently from a room at the Kati army base, 15km (nine miles) from Bamako, where he and Mr Cissé had been taken by soldiers that afternoon.

This came after more than two months of confrontation with an alliance of opposition politicians and civil society, the M5-RFP, in whose name massive crowds staged a series of street demonstrations shrewdly piloted by the charismatic imam Mahmoud Dicko.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Imam Mahmoud Dicko says he is not interested in political leadership

Protesters had only one central demand – Mr Keïta’s resignation, although Mr Dicko held back from explicitly calling for this himself.

In negotiations mediated by Ecowas, Mr Keïta had made concession after concession, but never ceding either his own position or the decisive reforms that would have clearly ended his command of the state machine.

You may also be interested in:

That was no longer enough and finally a group of senior – but not top-ranking – officers, moved to end his occupation of the presidency.

But Ecowas is not prepared to go along with this unconstitutional change of power and its envoy, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, is soon expected back in Bamako to talk to the putchists.

Difficult negotiations lie ahead and no-one can be sure how they will pan out.

Lost opportunity

When gunshots were heard over the Kati barracks on Tuesday it was not immediately obvious that this was anything other than a mutiny by ordinary soldiers’ angered by high-level corruption while they risk their lives in the war against jihadists in the north.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Mr Keïta failed to use his early popularity to deal with troubles in northern Mali where scores of soldiers have been killed

But as military vehicles swept from Kati down into Bamako to arrest Mr Keïta and a string of senior figures, it became clear that something much more substantial was under way.

For exasperation with Mr Keïta stretched back much further than the face-off with protesters over recent months.

Faith in the slogans about restoring national pride that had carried him to election victory over the technocratic Soumaïla Cissé back in 2013 had long since faded.

International partners were dismayed by Mr Keïta’s failure to use his early popularity to swing politicians and the public behind the difficult compromises required to effectively implement peace with Tuareg separatists in the north, a dilatory approach that left a vacuum in which terrorism could flourish.

More about Mali’s battle against jihadists

But for Malians, particularly in the south and the centre, where most live, Mr Keïta’s administration was most tarnished by a string of corruption scandals, sometimes undermining basic services such as the supply of fertiliser to poor farmers, amidst stories about the ostentatious high life of the ruling elite.

The president only secured easy re-election in 2018 because traditional opponents and a raft of new centrist groups failed to establish a common front.

The issue that finally triggered the massive upsurge of popular anger that spilled on to the streets of Bamako this year was a rather narrowly political one – the decision of the Constitutional Court to overturn the results for 31 parliamentary seats in the elections held over two rounds in March and April.

This cancelled voters’ humiliation of the government in Bamako constituencies – and it came at a moment when feelings were already raw after northern militants had kidnapped opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé while he was out on the campaign trail in the north, near Timbuktu. He is still a hostage now.

Yacht holiday

Then after Covid-19 had forced Bamako residents to endure lockdown measures, and while Malian soldiers continued to sacrifice their lives in the northern war, images emerged appearing to show the president’s son, Karim – chair of parliament’s defence committee – on a holiday yacht abroad.

The pictures could not be verified and may have been old.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, pictured here with Mr Keïta last year, wants a return to civilian rule

Karim Keïta himself insisted no public expense had been incurred – yet the images could only further fuel perceptions of a presidential circle somehow unengaged and distanced from Mali’s multiple crises.

Throughout all this Mr Keïta’s prime minister struggled assiduously to broker a political path forward and tackle the country’s real problems. But Boubou Cissé lacked the independent personal clout to save the beleaguered administration.

Ecowas mediation was making progress, but slowly – and then, this week, the soldiers stepped in.

So where does Mali go from here?

Col Ismaël Wagué (centre)

EPA

Mali’s coup leaders:

The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP)

  • Col Assimi Goita:Head of the CNSP and leads Mali’s special forces

  • Col Malick Diaw:CNSP vice-president; deputy head of camp where mutiny began

  • Col Ismaël Wagué:Junta’s spokesman; from the air force (pictured)

  • Col Sadio Camara:Ex-head of the military academy where the mutiny started

  • Col Modibo Koné:Has played a key role in fighting jihadists

Source: BBC Monitoring and Reuters

For the very short term the UN’s large Mali peacekeeping mission, French anti-terrorist forces and national military units deployed in the north and the centre should be able to maintain a stable security position.

But the position is fragile and jihadist groups will take heart if there is a prolonged delay in agreeing arrangements for a transition, new elections and an internationally accepted interim government.

One person who has already signalled that he will not take a frontline role at this stage is Mr Dicko.

The influential imam has declared his intention to step back from politics for now, although he will remain an influential figure, if and when he chooses to exert that influence.

In the meantime, much hangs on the talks now expected between the putschists, the M5-RFP and Ecowas.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Yellen: Private funds also needed to tackle climate change | Climate News

Published

on

By


The cost of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 could climb to $2.5 trillion over 10 years for the US alone, according to one estimate.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said private financing, and not just government spending, will be needed to tackle the “existential threat” of climate change.

The overall cost of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 — in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement that the U.S. has rejoined — could run to $2.5 trillion over 10 years for the U.S. alone, according to one estimate, Yellen said in a speech to a virtual conference Wednesday organized by the Institute of International Finance.

“It’s going to be tremendously important for the financial services industry to marshal and allocate capital that’s needed to make the transition toward net-zero” emissions, she said in a question-and-answer segment that followed the speech. “Massive investments are likely to be needed and the bulk has to be private.”

The Treasury chief also highlighted the need to strengthen financial risk disclosures — making them more reliable, consistent and comparable across markets and countries — so investors can accurately gauge risks and opportunities.

Yellen pledged that the U.S. will help developing countries that are especially vulnerable to threats from climate change, but stopped short of making any specific financial promises on that front.

The infrastructure-focused economic proposal that President Joe Biden unveiled last month, including money to address climate change, “will be the most significant public investment in America since the 1960s, dramatically reducing U.S. emissions by greening the electricity and transportation sectors,” Yellen said.

Biden Summit

Yellen’s comments come as Biden convenes the leaders of 40 nations, corporate executives and union leaders in a two-day virtual summit on the climate change, with a focus on how to galvanize finance in the endeavor.

While many recent international climate-change discussions have focused on the role of multilateral development banks and formal climate-assistance programs, the conversation at the summit will include a more expansive look at the role of private funds in propelling clean energy and building resilience, administration officials said Wednesday.

Yellen said the Treasury is involved in a number of initiatives aimed at removing hurdles, including efforts to improve financial reporting and increasing the reliability of climate-related disclosures.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, a multi-agency body of regulators chaired by Yellen, will be the Treasury’s principal tool in attempting to minimize financial-sector risks associated with climate change, she said.

“It’s FSOC’s job to understand these risks, to coordinate across U.S. regulatory agencies in assessing the risks and, if necessary and appropriate, acting to mitigate risks to overall U.S. financial stability,” she said in the Q&A.

Global Harmonization

Yellen said U.S. officials will also work with the multilateral Financial Stability Board and other international bodies to make reporting requirements consistent and comparable across borders. She endorsed a “solid framework” for climate-related disclosures from an FSB task force chaired by Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

Yellen didn’t offer any specific new pledge of additional U.S. government funding to help developing nations adapt to a warming planet or build clean-energy projects.

Rich countries promised in 2009 that by 2020 they’d collectively devote $100 billion annually to climate finance, but have fallen far short. As the world’s No. 2 emitter of greenhouse-gas emissions, the U.S. is under pressure to loosen its purse strings.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

Continue Reading

News

‘Chad is not a monarchy’, rebels warn interim president 

Published

on

By


Gen Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno

Gen Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno

The son of the late President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad has been named interim president of the central African nation by a transitional military council.

Wednesday’s announcement comes a day after 37-year-old Gen Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno was named head of the 18-month council as the army announced the death of his 68-year-old father from injuries sustained while visiting troops on the front line.

A rebel force known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad, known by its French acronym FACT, has advanced from the north in recent days toward the capital, N’Djamena. The group had been based in neighbouring Libya. The rebel group released a statement Tuesday vowing to take the capital and depose the younger Deby.   
 
“Chad is not a monarchy,” the statement read. “There can be no dynastic devolution of power in our country.”
 
A day before his death, the elder Deby was declared the winner of Chad’s April 11 election with 79 per cent of the vote, giving him a sixth term in office. Most opposition groups had boycotted the poll, citing arrests and a government ban on opposition rallies.  

Deby had ruled Chad since coming to power in a December 1990 coup, making him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. Opponents called him an autocrat and criticized his management of Chadian oil revenue. In 2008, a different rebel force reached N’Djamena and came close to toppling Deby before French and Chadian army forces drove them out of the city.
 
In the West, however, Deby was seen as an important ally in the fight against Islamist extremist groups in West Africa and the Sahel, like Nigeria-based Boko Haram.
 
The Libya-based FACT had attacked a border post on the day of the election and then moved hundreds of kilometres toward the capital. On Monday, the Chadian army said it had inflicted a heavy loss on the rebels, killing more than 300 of them.



Source – observer.ug

Continue Reading

News

COVID vaccine scarcity and fake doses hamper efforts in Americas | Latin America News

Published

on

By


Amid a limited supply of vaccines, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise across the Americas, PAHO officials said.

Amid a scramble to secure enough coronavirus vaccines in the Americas, there are reports of fake doses proliferating on the black market in several countries in the region, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

“We have received some information from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil that some doses have been offered through social media, illegal markets offering vaccines that probably are falsified,” Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director of PAHO said during a weekly news conference.

“They are not real vaccines or maybe they are stolen doses from a health facility that no one can assure that they were properly stored,” Barbosa said.

A woman receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, during a vaccination day campaign in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer had identified counterfeit vaccines in Mexico and in Poland. According to the report, 80 people in Mexico had been jabbed with fake doses in a clinic, after paying $1,000 per dose.

According to the report, the people who received the fake vaccines were not adversely affected. Citing authorities, the report said in Poland the fake vaccines were seized before they were administered.

During Wednesday’s news conference, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said the organisation was also concerned about vaccine hesitancy. She said “insidious rumours and conspiracy theories” were “inspiring fear and costing lives”.

She said PAHO was working with tech companies to tackle misinformation that has quickly proliferated on the internet and on social media sites.

“Because unreliable information spreads quickly, PAHO is collaborating with tech companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook to address fake news and ensure the public can easily find accurate information,” she said.

The reports of fake vaccines and vaccine hesitancy in the Americas came amid a scarce supply of vaccines in the region, and a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Brazil has so far vaccinated 11.6 percent of its population and Mexico has vaccinated 8.7 percent. Other nations in the region are lagging behind [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

“Latin America is the region that currently has the greatest need for vaccines,” Etienne said, “this region should be prioritised for distribution of vaccines.”

“No one will be safe until we are all safe.”

Nearly half of the world’s coronavirus deaths during the weekend were in the Americas, Etienne said, adding that nearly every country in Central America is reporting a rise in infections. Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, she said were the worst hit.

“Over the weekend, the world reached a tragic milestone – more than three million have lost their lives to COVID, and nearly half of these deaths happened right here in the Americas,” Etienne said.

Chile is seeing a plateau in cases, while Brazil is reporting a drop. But despite the drop, Etienne said, cases in Brazil “remain alarmingly high.” Argentina ranked third regionally in the weekly number of new cases. Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay were also seeing a worsening. And Mexico, after weeks of decline in new cases, is seeing a slight increase.

Regionally, the United States and Chile have made the most progress in their vaccination campaigns – both have vaccinated about 40 percent of their population – according to Our World in Data.

Uruguay has inoculated more than 30 percent of its population while Brazil has so far vaccinated 11.6 percent and Mexico has vaccinated about 8.7 percent. Other nations in the region are lagging behind.

During the news briefing, officials said most of the region’s countries are relying on the global COVAX mechanism, which aims to equitably distribute vaccines to developing nations.

Etienne said more than 4.2 million vaccine doses have so far been supplied to 29 countries in the Americas through COVAX, and more doses are on the way.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

Continue Reading

Trending