By Paul Ejime
The Foreign Minister of Mali Abdoulaye Diop says the Col Assimi Goita-led interim government has proposed to ECOWAS, the regional bloc, a five-years delay for return to democracy in the country based on the recommendations of a four-day National Conference which ended in Bamako on Thursday.
The Conference had recommended a delay of between six months and five years.
But Diop said on state television on Saturday that the government went for the upper limit in its proposal submitted to the Chair of ECOWAS Authority, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo.
The ECOWAS Chair is now expected to consult with his colleagues or call an extraordinary meeting to decide the next line of action by the 15-nation regional organisation.
ECOWAS has already suspended Mali’s membership and imposed sanctions on the Goita-led military group following a second coup in the country last May after an earlier putsch that toppled the government of elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020.
From all indications, the previous 18-month transition calendar proposed by the interim government including elections in February this year has become unrealistic.
That leaves ECOWAS with more headaches given that a similar military incursion in politics is also unravelling in Guinea.
Political instability blamed partly on dubious alteration of national constitutions for tenure elongation by some leaders is compounded by the perennial insecurity in West Africa and the Sahel region.
There are also the telling effects of corruption, mismanagement and bad governance coupled with economic downturn and the Covid-19 devastation.