News / Africa

    Mali's New President Sworn In

    Mali's President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (C) arrives at his swearing-in ceremony in Bamako, Mali, Sept. 4, 2013.
    Mali's President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (C) arrives at his swearing-in ceremony in Bamako, Mali, Sept. 4, 2013.
    VOA News
    Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been sworn in as Mali's new president, after winning the country's first election since last year's coup.

    Keita vowed to protect democratic gains and rebuild national unity during a small ceremony Wednesday in the capital, Bamako.  The new president also promised to fight corruption, saying no one will ever get rich off public funds again.

    Guests at the ceremony included Keita's election rival, Soumaila Cisse, and outgoing transitional leader Dioncounda Traore, who Keita saluted for keeping the country together in the face of numerous challenges.

    A full inauguration celebration, attended by world leaders, is expected to take place later this month.

    Keita, a one-time prime minister and former president of the National Assembly, won the August 11th run-off election with 77 percent of votes.  His victory came with support from Muslim religious leaders, the military and most of his first-round rivals.  

    He faces the task of reuniting Mali after 20 months of unrest that included a Tuareg rebellion, the overthrow of President Amadou Toure and a takeover of the north by Islamist militants, who were later ousted by a French-led military offensive.

    After forming his government, Keita will have 60 days to open what are expected to be difficult negotiations with an armed Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA, and its allies in the far northern region of Kidal.

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    by: Meriban from: Lagos
    September 04, 2013 12:02 PM
    Shocking as it may seem, Mali’s coup leader, Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, had been given US military and intelligence training by the US Africa Command, through the US State Department-sponsored International Military Education and Training program.

    The narrative is that Tuareg fighters returning from fighting for Gaddafi in Libya were stirring up trouble in Mali and the elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure was not aggressive enough in combating the rebels in the north. Being a good patriot, Sanogo’s soldiers took matters into their own hands.

    Proving that Sanogo was paying attention during his State Department-funded training, he named his movement to overthrow the legitimately-elected government of Mali the “National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of the State.” Democracy is what we say it is. You return to democracy by overthrowing democracy. To understand the logic, it may be necessary to take US State Department-funded “demokra-speak” lessons.

    by: Molly from: USA
    September 04, 2013 11:59 AM
    Mali is one of the most irrelevant countries in West Africa from a resource standpoint, and what happens inside of it is certainly irrelevant from a greater geopolitical standpoint.

    What is more important is what this map doesn’t show, specifically the name of the country located a few hundred miles to the south: Nigeria.

    Now Nigeria is important: very important. Or rather, Nigerian light sweet, one of the highest quality crudes in the world, is. And thanks to the “bungled” French peacemaking attempt, the US now has a critical foothold in what is the most strategically placed stretch of desert in Western Africa, a place where US “military trainers” will now be deployed at will.

    Be on the lookout for curious escalations in violence around the capital Abuja, and key port city Lagos, in the coming months once the current Mali fracas is long forgotten.

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