Coup leader Goita appointed as Mali’s interim president
Published: 05:47 PM, 29 May 2021
Colonel Assimi Goita; Photo: Collected
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led a military coup this week, has become the president of the interim government of the West African country of Mali for the second time.
Mali’s Constitutional Court on Friday named Goita as its next head of state after the coup.
The court ruled that Goita would lead the process of handing over the power to a democratic government as the new interim president.
Al Jazeera reports that Assimi Goita said he will appoint a new prime minister in a few days.
Three days after the arrest, ousted interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were released on Thursday. The Malian army claimed that they had “resigned while in custody”.
The Ndaw-Ouane government removed two top army officials who led last year’s successful coup, including Assimi Goita, by reshuffling various government posts. Following this, the second military coup within nine months took place in Mali on Monday.
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the country’s former president-elect and autocrat, was ousted in a military coup in August last year. Keita was ousted by young soldiers led by Goita in the wake of a mass movement accused of corruption and failure to crack down on extremists.
Since then, Ndaw-Ouane has been tasked with restoring civilian rule. Colonel Assimi Goita made the vice president of their government. Besides, many more army officers were appointed to important government posts.
Although Keita’s removal was welcomed by Mali’s mass population, anger erupted in the country over the military’s influence in the interim government. Apart from this, the promise of reforming the new government was not reflected by the Ndaw-Ouane interim government.
Mali’s politics have been heated for a week since the reshuffle of army officers, the second coup and the capture of Ndaw-Ouane.
Goita claims he was “forced” to take the step because the president and prime minister failed to negotiate a new government.
The United States, the United Nations, France, the European Union and the African Union have all condemned the arrests. The parties repeatedly pressured the Malian army to release them “unconditionally”.
Since the 2012 military coup, extremists have set up bases in northern Mali. Although Ibrahim Keita took over as president in 2013, stability in the region has not returned.
Former colonial state France has sent troops to Mali to maintain peace, however, terrorist attacks continue. The second coup is expected to increase the activities of al-Qaeda and IS, a banned group in Mali.
Attacks on the country’s security forces and civilians are also expected to increase. At the same time, the 15-member economic alliance of West Africa, ECOWAS, the United States and France have threatened to lift sanctions on Mali.