West Africa: Buhari Embarks On Peace Mission to Mali

A tweet announcing President Muhammadu Buhari's trip to Mali on July 23, 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari will Thursday depart for Bamako, Republic of Mali on a one-day visit, following the briefing by the ECOWAS Special Envoy to the country, former President Goodluck Jonathan.

A release from the presidency on Wednesday said the Nigerian President and some ECOWAS leaders led by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the sub-regional organisation, President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger Republic, agreed to meet in Mali to engage in further consultations towards finding a political solution to the crisis in the country.

Mali is currently experiencing a political logjam that has attracted the intervention of African leaders.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Jonathan, who handed over power to the incumbent Nigerian leader was at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday to update the president on his recent international mediatory assignment in Mali.

PREMIUM TIMES also reported how Mr Jonathan, while in Mali, recommended the formation of a government of national unity with members drawn from different interest groups in the country, including the ruling coalition, the opposition parties and the civil society.

Release

"Host President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Presidents Machy Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire are expected to participate in the Bamako meeting.

"Former President Jonathan was at the State House in company of President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, on Tuesday to brief President Buhari on the unfolding situation in Mali, necessitating the visit of ECOWAS leaders to consolidate on the agreements reached by various parties," presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina said.

"We will ask the President of Niger, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS to brief us as a group, and we will then know the way forward," President Buhari had reportedly said.

He (Buhari) thanked Dr Jonathan for his comprehensive brief on the situation in Mali, "which you had been abreast with since when you were the sitting Nigerian President."

"The former President had filled in President Buhari on his activities as Special Envoy to restore amity to Mali, rocked by protests against President Keita, who has spent two out of the five years second term in office.

"A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the Constitutional Court must be dissolved, and the President resign, before peace can return to the country," Mr Adesina added.

Crisis had erupted after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of President Keita.

Riots on July 10 had led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, causing the crisis to spiral out of control, hence the intervention by ECOWAS.

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