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ECOWAS Condemns Military ‘Adventurism’ in Mali

Renegade Malian soldiers appear on television at the ORTM television studio in Bamako, March 22, 2012 still image taken from video.
Renegade Malian soldiers appear on television at the ORTM television studio in Bamako, March 22, 2012 still image taken from video.
Peter Clottey

An official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says the sub-regional bloc will not tolerate “military adventurism” after mutinous soldiers toppled Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure.

Communications director Sonny Ugoh said the crisis in Mali undermines ECOWAS’ efforts at promoting peace, political stability and democracy in West Africa.

“The regional leaders agree that the train of democracy is irreversible for us, and we will not allow adventurists to turn the hands of the clock backwards,” said Ugoh. “This is essentially the basis for the protocol or democracy and good governance, which is an extension on the mechanism of intervention, resolution and peacekeeping and regional security.”

Ugoh said the sub-regional bloc will continue with its efforts to entrench democracy in West Africa.

Ugoh said ECOWAS has begun consultations with its local and international partners to decide its next line of action.

“We are concerned about this latest affront to democratic governance in West Africa,” said Ugoh. “Regional leaders are consulting to see how best to respond to it, because that goes against the grain of all the instruments that ECOWAS members have signed. [This is particularly true regarding] democracy and good governance, where we agreed categorically, to not allow ascension to power obtained through this kind of means.

The mutinous soldiers say they acted because of the president's incompetence in fighting a rebellion by ethnic Tuaregs in Mali's north.

But Ugoh said the soldiers “jumped the gun” after saying ECOWAS was preparing a mediation team to help broker a ceasefire in Mali before Wednesday’s coup d’état.

“The president of the commission Desire Ouedraogo led a fact finding mission that returned from Mali where they held consultations, all with the intention of starting a process that would hopefully lead to a negotiated resolution of the crisis in the north of Mali,” said Ugoh.

He said the coup d’état exacerbates the country’s security problem.

Mali was scheduled to go to the polls on April 29th to elect a new president to take over from President Amadou Toumani Toure.

But, analysts doubt the vote will proceed as originally planned.

Ugoh expressed optimism it will be held as scheduled, despite the overthrow of the government.

“We are hopeful the election will hold…the citizens are perfectly entitled to vote in an election, and it is their responsibility therefore by voting to determine a government of their choice,” said Ugoh. “It is not that any time anybody disagrees with the government then he mobilizes some disgruntled people and then takes over the reins of government.”

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