× Digital News Videos Weird News Health & Science Sunday Magazine Lifestyle Opinion Education Columns Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Special Reports Fact Check E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Games Crosswords Sodoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Mali president's speech fails to appease opposition

By AFP | July 10th 2020 at 08:00:00 GMT +0300

Thousands of people gathered for a demonstration in Bamako on June 19. [AFP]

Mali's main protest leader called for fresh anti-government demonstrations on Thursday, rejecting the president's latest attempts to appease the resurgent opposition in the fragile West African state.

Mahmoud Dicko, an influential imam who has emerged as the leader of the so-called June 5 opposition movement, said through his political group on social media that a protest planned for Friday would go ahead.

The move came as the rest of the opposition coalition was still deciding whether to hold the rally, and followed reforms floated by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Wednesday evening meant to appease growing hostility to his government.

Thousands of people in the country of some 19 million people protested on two occasions last month, urging Keita to resign over his perceived inability to resolve Mali's economic woes and bloody jihadist conflict.

Read More

The Sahel nation has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that first emerged in the north in 2012, before spreading to the centre of the country and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict to date, and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes.

On Wednesday evening, Keita proposed in a televised speech the appointment of new judges to the country's constitutional court -- which has been at the centre of controversy since April.

Following a long-delayed parliamentary poll in March -- which Keita's party won -- the court overturned the provisional results for about 30 seats on April 29, in a decision that triggered protests in several Malian cities.

The move saw several members from Keita's party elected to the parliament, and is viewed by many as having ignited Mali's latest political crisis.

But Keita, who has been in power since 2013, suggested in his speech on Wednesday that new constitutional court judges could revisit that decision.

'Failed speech'

The embattled president's attempt to appease Mali's growing opposition movement appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

For example, one of the leaders of the protest movement, Moussa Sinko Coulibay, said on Twitter on Thursday that the speech had "completely failed".

"He has just proved once again that he is Mali's problem," Coulibay added, referring to Keita.

Also on Twitter, Malian star singer Salif Keita also called for people to protest on Friday.

President Keita is on increasingly shaky political ground as protests continue, alarming the international community which is keen to avoid Mali sliding into chaos.

The 75-year-old has mooted several reforms since protests began in a bid to appease protesters, such as the formation of a new national unity government.

Last week, opposition leaders said they wanted to engage in dialogue with the president, dropping demands for his resignation in favour of the dissolution of parliament and the establishment of a transition government.

Since then, back-and-forth talks between the opposition and Keita have failed to achieve a breakthrough, however, with the president refusing to dissolve the parliament.


Read More