ECOWAS hits Mali with tough sanctions over election delay
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed economic sanctions on the Republic of Mali.
Member countries of the West African bloc took the decision at an extraordinary summit in Accra, Ghana on Sunday.
ECOWAS rejected the proposal by Mali’s government to hold elections in 2025, saying it finds it totally unacceptable.
According to the West African body, the delay “simply means that an illegitimate military transition government will take the Malian people hostage”.
The communique released after the meeting said member countries will impose sanctions with immediate effect.
The sanctions include the closure of land and air borders with Mali, suspension of non-essential financial transactions and freezing of Mali’s assets in banks in ECOWAS countries.
ECOWAS said the elections must take place in February 2022 as earlier scheduled.
The new measures will be gradually lifted only after an acceptable election timeframe is finalised and progress is made towards implementing it, ECOWAS said.
The political crisis in Mali took a different turn in August 2020 when the military seized power from President Ibrahim Keita. After the coup, the country instituted a political transition with a timeline of 18 months from September 15, 2021.
Bah N’Daw, Mali’s former defence minister, was named president of the country’s new transitional government, while Assimi Goita, leader of the military junta, was named vice-president. They were appointed to oversee the transition period.
But in June 2021, there was another coup led by Goita, who accused the interim president and the then Prime Minister Moctar Ouane of trying to sabotage the country’s transition.
Two days after seizing power from N’Daw, Goita declared himself president.