Yesterday, the military in Mali arrested the country’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and his prime minister, Boubou Cissé in a coup staged after weeks of destabilizing protests over a disputed election, government corruption and a violent Islamist insurgency that has lasted for eight years.
The streets of Bamako, Mali’s capital, went into both jubilation and gunfire after President Keïta and prime minister Cissé were detained along with other government officials.
After hours of such disturbance, around midnight, President Keïta announced on state television that he was resigning from office. He had no other way but to concede and leave as the military took over power.
We saw a similar thing happening in Zimbabwe just recently, and the resulting jubilation from citizens after a forcible removal of freedom icon Robert Gabriel Mugabe. That was the genesis of a new wave of military intervention in Africa, at a time when we thought the continent had graduated from such unconventional means of taking over power.
We’re now seeing it in Mali. Our worry is that the effects of the instability in Mali could spill beyond borders and affect the entire West Africa, the Sahel, the broader Arab world, the European Union and the United States of America, and much more the entire African continent. More so, other African countries may begin to think what has happened can be replicated in their countries.
Wrong is wrong and has to be condemned. We hope the African leaders, through the African Union, will speak out on this and call for an end to military interventions whenever there’s dissent for a democratically elected government.
Our thoughts are with Mali and we hope and pray the current instability is resolved amicably!