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

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

News

Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

Published

on

When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

Continue Reading

News

Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

Published

on

By


The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

Continue Reading

News

Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

Published

on

By


Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

Continue Reading

Trending