An extraordinary virtual summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has agreed on the need for a rapid establishment of a National Unity Government in Mali.
This is in line with the recommendations of its Special Envoy/Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
ECOWAS Chairman, who is the President of Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou, signed the communiqué read on Monday in Abuja by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, to find lasting solution to the crisis rocking Mali.
The Heads of States and Governments encouraged the opposition, in particular, the M5-RFP, to participate in the National Unity Government.
Government of National Unity
The main task of the National Unity Government, according to the communiqué, will be to deal with the consequences of the demonstrations, and to implement all reforms and recommendations issued from the Inclusive National Dialogue and to improve governance.
The communiqué said that there is need to accelerate the implementation of the Algiers Agreements.
It added that some members of Government will be nominated before the National Unity Government is formed, including the ministries in charge of Defense, Justice, Foreign Affairs, National Security and Finance, given the numerous challenges facing the country.
The ECOWAS leaders insisted on the Mali authorities to fasten the release of the leader of the opposition, Honourable Soumaila Cisse, who was abducted since March 25, 2020.
The heads of states and governments urged all political parties to obtain the immediate resignation of all the 31 Members of Parliament whose election is contested.
The communiqué also said the resignations will pave the way for by-elections, adding that the Parliament will operate with the 116 remaining Members, pending the by-elections.
On the constitutional court, the ECOWAS leaders asked all the relevant institutions to facilitate its immediate recomposition according to legal provisions in Mali.
The Parliament, they added, will propose its representatives after the resignation of the 31 members whose election is contested and the installation of the new bureau.
The communiqué further stated the President of the Republic will use the exceptional power provided by Article 50 of the Constitution of Mali to nominate the 9 members in case of difficulty for the various bodies in designating their members to the Constitutional Court.
The regional leaders, while addressing issues on investigations, asked the relevant authorities to conduct quickly those inquiries to determine and identify those responsible for the violence that led to deaths and casualties as well as public and private properties destruction on July 10th, 11th, and 12th 2020.
The meeting requested the ECOWAS Commission to put in place a monitoring committee for the implementation of all the above measures.
The Committee, it explained, will include representatives from Government, Parliament, the Judiciary, Civil Society, M5-RFP, women, the youth, with the participation of the local Representative of the African Union, the United Nations, and chaired by ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS leaders, who asked all stakeholders to implement all the above decisions and measures within 10 days, requested the commission to consider sanctions against all those who act contrary to the normalization process of the crisis.
Last week, Issoufou, was in Bamako, the capital of Mali together with President Muhammadu Buhari, Host President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Presidents Machy Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire on a peace mission.
The Monday video conference of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, was held to further deliberate on the issues raised in Mali with a view to finding lasting solution to the crisis rocking the country.
The ECOWAS chairman had said the sub-regional leaders had already agreed that there would be a need for a compromise to protect the peace and integrity of the nation, stressing that any mistake to allow a political crisis to fester in Mali would affect the security situation in West Africa, especially neighbouring countries.
A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the Constitutional Court must be dissolved, and the President resign, before peace can return to the country.
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.