Malian colonel Assimi Goïta was sworn in on Monday as president of the period of political transition supposed to bring civilians back to power, after two coups d’état condemned by the main partners, including France, of this key country for the stability of the Sahel.
“I swear before God and the Malian people to faithfully preserve the republican regime (…) to preserve democratic gains, to guarantee national unity, the independence of the homeland and the integrity of the national territory”, thus delivered by Colonel Goïta at the Bamako International Conference Center (CICB).
A transitional government that must give way to civilians
This transition is closely watched by the partners of Mali, who demanded from the military guarantees that they will give way to civilians following elections to be held in early 2022. The investiture of Assimi Goïta “will be the moment for him to reassure and solemnly make clear commitments on the course of the remaining eight months of the transition, ”had thus estimated, on condition of anonymity, a diplomat stationed in Bamako with AFP.
If the appointment of a new Prime Minister seems imminent, Colonel Goïta could be satisfied to say that the elections will take place “in the course” of next year. An announcement that could upset the international community, according to observers.
Mali, the central hotbed of jihadism in the Sahel, has been the scene of two coups in nine months on the part of Assimi Goïta and his group of colonels. During the first, the officers overthrew on August 18, 2020 President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, weakened by the protest led for months by the Mouvement du 5-Juin / Rassemblement des forces patriotiques (M5 / RFP), a collective of opponents, religious and members of civil society.
The junta then committed, under international pressure, to a transition period limited to 18 months and led by civilians. On May 24, Colonel Goïta, who remained the real strong man, had nevertheless trampled on this commitment by arresting the President and the Prime Minister of the transition, two civilians. He has since been declared president of the transition by the Constitutional Court.
France suspends joint operations with Mali
Scared by the new coup, France announced the suspension of its joint operations with the Malian army, after eight years of close cooperation against the jihadists.
Until further notice, its Barkhane force, which operates in several Sahelian countries, will no longer leave its bases for operations on the ground in Mali, even if it will continue to strike, if the opportunity arises, jihadist leaders.