News / Africa

Mali Crisis Persists Six Months After Coup

Alhader Ag Almahmoud, a 30-year-old Tuareg herder whose right hand was amputated last month by an Islamist group, displays his bandaged arm at an Amnesty International press conference in Bamako, Mali, September 20, 2012.
Alhader Ag Almahmoud, a 30-year-old Tuareg herder whose right hand was amputated last month by an Islamist group, displays his bandaged arm at an Amnesty International press conference in Bamako, Mali, September 20, 2012.
Anne Look
Mali remains mired in uncertainty six months after a military coup derailed what was a relatively stable, but some say faltering, democracy and paved the way for al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants to seize the northern half of the country.  
 
It has been six months since an army mutiny spiraled into a military coup in the early hours of March 22.
 
Some in Mali cheered the coup as the shock treatment the country needed - a purging of an unpopular leadership that many said was corrupt, and chance to get back on track.
 
But the reality has been much different. Many Malians say life is getting worse, not better.
 
Shop owner Djiri Tambadou says it was at least calm before, but now they do not what is going to happen. Life is difficult, he says. Since the coup his small grocery has been attacked three times by robbers driving SUVs and business is bad. He says the country is still far from a solution, so long as the military exerts control and the politicians are dishonest.

Mali was largely dependent on the international aid foreign powers largely cut off in the days following the coup. The crisis has hit the economy, in particular small and medium-sized businesses.

The International Crisis Group, in a report released Monday, warns economic pressures, including the expected lifting of food subsidies, could spark social unrest.

Crisis Group West Africa Director Gilles Yabi says it is impossible to predict the political consequences of such a popular uprising. He says given the current leadership crisis, it is impossible to say who the population would hold responsible for socio-economic problems.
 
The interim civilian government has been faltering. It was put in place in April following heavy-handed mediation by West African regional bloc ECOWAS aimed at sidelining the coup leaders and restoring some constitutional order.
 
The interim government was then expanded into a "government of national unity" in August in the hopes of garnering broader-based popular support.
 
But analysts say Bamako still lacks a clear leader. The country is instead being run by an uneasy triumvirate of interim President Diouncounda Traore, ex-junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, and interim Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra.

The president of the National Civil Society Council of Mali, Boureima Allaye Toure, says the country is "spinning in circles."
 
Toure says the interim government has swelled from 24 ministers to 31. He says this is not about resolving the crisis. It is about political maneuvering and everyone getting his or her piece of the pie. He says the government is not communicating with the people about its actions. He says they had to learn about Mali's request to ECOWAS for military assistance from the international press. So long as Mali does not have one widely accepted leader making decisions and talking to the people, he says the situation will continue to deteriorate.

The International Crisis Group says the political tug of war, as well as divisions within the ex-junta and the military in general, could provoke another military coup.

When the March 22 coup occurred, Mali was just weeks away from a presidential election that would have marked the end of the now-ousted president's second and final term in office.
 
The interim civilian government now has the task of organizing elections.  But how to do that when two-thirds of Mali's national territory has fallen into the hands of al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants since the coup?
 
The idea of voting without the north, which even before the crisis was home to just a tenth of the population, is not popular among Malians.
 
Bamako security guard Mamadou Diarra says they can not have credible elections until the country is reunited and at peace. He says Mali is one country, so it would not be fair to hold elections in one part and not another.
 
Analysts say the fight to retake the north, even with international support, could be long and still perhaps a long-way off.  In the meantime, there are concerns extended political limbo in the capital could lead to further instability.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs