Editorial of the “World”. The latest coup led by Colonel Assimi Goïta in Bamako is very bad news for Mali’s partners – Africans, UN, Europeans – who, for nearly a decade, without counting the millions of euros spent, have failed to create an environment conducive to the emergence of a stable and democratic political system. It is also a disastrous rebound for Mali itself, because this third putsch in ten years is the symptom of the decay of an evanescent state.
After having almost collapsed in 2012 under the onslaught of armed jihadist groups and Tuareg independentists who wanted to dynamite the central state, the country continues to waver. The final explosion did not take place, but gangrene is eating away at the institutions.
On August 18, 2020, Colonel Goïta and his quarteron of senior officers laid down, arms in hand, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (“IBK”), who had hijacked the electoral process to be re-elected. The military assured to intervene to restore good governance and probity, virtues forgotten by a notoriously corrupt power. This National Transitional Council (CNT) in trellis wanted to be the armed wing of an exhausted population which, more and more noisily, expressed its fed up in the streets of Bamako. The CNT at the time was rather well regarded.
“A coup d’etat in the coup d’état”
Nothing like this today. On the evening of May 24, Colonel Goïta, in a press release, attributed to interim president Bah N’Daw and prime minister Moctar Ouane “A proven intention to sabotage the transition” to justify their arrest.
The formula is a poor camouflage for a recovery in hand for the benefit of the army and the rebel colonel. The latter has since been “confirmed” as president of the transition by a Constitutional Court under orders. A few hours earlier, Bah N’Daw had excluded two coup leaders from 2020 during a cabinet reshuffle intended to rebalance – in favor of civilians – the powers of the transitional government responsible for clearing the road leading to the inclusive elections in 2021. This does not he did not like Colonel Assimi Goïta.
For Emmanuel Macron, there is “A coup d’etat in the coup d’etat” let him judge « inadmissible ». In 2020, however, the Elysee had hardly mourned the departure of “IBK”, overthrown by the military. The following months, we even rented a “Junta that keeps its promises and with which we can work”. Such satisfaction, to which is added the support for the family succession orchestrated in Chad after the death of “President Marshal” Idriss Déby, has revived memories of a “Françafrique” that was said to be over.
It is true that the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States have very softly condemned these two constitutional violations. How, then, can President Macron be heard when he claims to have “Sent the message that [la France] will not stay alongside a country where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition ” ?
More than 5,000 French soldiers are deployed, especially in Mali, as part of the anti-terrorist operation “Barkhane”. A hasty withdrawal would in reality offer armed jihadist groups the unexpected opportunity to claim physical and psychological victory over one of the most powerful armies in the world. Colonel Goïta knows it. The French rantings do not perhaps impress him. The decay of his country, on the other hand, should alert him.