Buhari, ECOWAS Leaders to Visit Mali Over Political Crisis – ECOWAS Envoy ~ Matters Arising
The Special Envoy of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Mali, former President Goodluck Jonathan says President Muhammadu Buhari and some ECOWAS leaders may embark on reconciliation mission to Mali.
Jonathan, who headed the ECOWAS mediation team on Mali’s lingering political crisis, disclosed this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday.
The former President had updated the president on his activities as Special Envoy to restore amity to Mali, rocked by protests against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Keita has so far spent two out of the five years second term in office.
A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the Constitutional Court must be dissolved, and the President resign, before peace can return to the country. Crisis had erupted after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of President Keita.
Riots on July 10 led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, causing the crisis to spiral out of control, hence the intervention by ECOWAS But Jonathan said: “ECOWAS felt that the violent protest should not continue, so I should lead a special team to go again and engage them (protesters).
“We arrived (Mali) last week Wednesday. We started work that Wednesday night. The first person we had a discussion with was the President, then the Prime Minister and other interest groups up to Sunday.
“We left on Sunday late afternoon, and of course our president (Buhari), a key Actor in ECOWAS, provided the aircraft that took us there and brought us back.
“The president may even go back to Mali with others. So it is only proper when you go for such mission and you come back you have to brief your president. So, we came to brief him.’’
Jonathan, who described the outcome of their mission to Mali as partially successful, expressed the hope that normalcy would soon be restored to the troubled country.
He disclosed that a government of national unity would soon be constituted in Mali as the country’s parliament and Constitutional Court would be put in place.
He called on the Malian opposition leaders to cooperate with the ECOWAS in bringing sanity and political stability to the country, saying that the mediation team had no mandate to ask the elected Malian president to resign from office.
“Some group of people felt that the president must leave, they are still on that, which we made it very clear that no international organization whether ECOWAS, African Union or any arm of the United Nations will support it.
“We must consolidate democracy in Africa. If you elected a president democratically based on your laws, his leaving office must also be democratic and we cannot encourage anything other than normal democratic processs
“But they still hold on to that. So because of them we cannot say we achieved 100 per cent success,’’ he said.