Mali mediator leaves Bamako with no poll date set

 Mali mediator leaves Bamako with no poll date set

Bamako – West Africa’s mediator in Mali, former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, left Bamako on Sunday with no date set for elections to return the country to civilian rule, informed sources said.

The military junta that seized power in August 2020 is, even so, “favourable to a transition lasting less than four years,” an informed Malian source told AFP without giving further details.

Jonathan ended a two-day visit which had sought to pin down a date having previously said an initially mooted five years to free elections was too long and after the junta had at an Accra summit with ECOWAS last month proposed four.

“We have ended our mission in Bamako. If you are asking if we have reached agreement on a date for ending the transition (period) I say straight up, no,” a member of Jonathan’s delegation told AFP.

A Malian source close to the talks confirmed as much.

Jonathan had prior to his latest foray referred to Mali’s current government as an “aberration” in that it has no popular mandate while regional grouping ECOWAS imposed wide-ranging sanctions last November.

ECOWAS and the EU also imposed sanctions on Mali’s transitional prime minister and members of interim president Assimi Goita’s inner circle earlier this year after the military junked a plan for February elections.

Mali has endured two coups in the past two years the first in August 2020 and then a second in May 2021 which saw Colonel Goita made transitional president.

In a document seen by AFP, the technical committee of ECOWAS had proposed holding elections within the next 12 to 16 months under the aegis of an independent electoral commission.

The two quickfire coups hit Mali, one of the world’s poorest nations, with its security already battered by a decade of insurrection from rebel groups and jihadist fighters in the north. . ! Y

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