Renowned Pan-Africanist Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba has said that the recent military take-over of power in Mali should serve as a serious warning to other African leaders who hold on to power for longer than necessary.
The respected Kenyan professor of law, who is renowned as an advocate for good governance in Africa, however added that he does not support the idea of changing non-performing governments through unconstitutional means, especially military coup.
He made the comment in a short Facebook post saying, “although the seizure of power by the Military is to be discouraged, African Presidents who cling to power to the detriment of the population must know that soldiers are also Citizens who will not be indifferent.”
Lumumba narrowed his advice to some specific long-serving leaders such as Paul Biya of Cameroon, Alpha Conde of Guinea and Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire. “Let KEITA’S fate be a warning to CONDE, BIYA, OUATTARA and others,” he said.
Meanwhile, the junta that seized power in Mali wants a military-led transitional government to rule the country for three years, and has accepted that ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita return home, sources in a visiting West African delegation said Sunday.
“The junta has affirmed that it wants a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” a member of the delegation of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is quoted as having told AFP in Mali’s capital Bamako.
“The government will also be predominantly composed of soldiers” under the junta’s proposal, the source said on condition of anonymity.
The source added that the junta has agreed to “free president Keita”, who has been detained along with other political leaders since the coup on Tuesday, and he “will be able to return to his home” in Bamako.
“And if he wants to travel abroad for treatment, that is not a problem,” the ECOWAS source said.
The coup followed months of protests calling for Keita to resign as public discontent with the government grew over the country’s brutal Islamist insurgency and collapsing economy.
While it was met by international condemnation, thousands of opposition supporters celebrated the president’s ouster in the streets of Bamako.
Leaders of the military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita and ECOWAS mediators led by Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, met behind closed doors all day on Sunday.
“We have been able to agree on a number of points but not yet on all the discussions,” Jonathan told reporters on Sunday night after negotiations that lasted around nine hours.
ECOWAS Commission chief Jean-Claude Kassi Brou expressed hope over the weekend that it would be possible to “finalise everything” on Monday, underlining the military’s “strong will to move forward”.
“We need results, because on August 26, the ECOWAS heads of state meet to say whether they will strengthen sanctions against the junta, or if the grip on them will be loosened,” said a member of the delegation.
Keita won an election in a landslide in 2013, presenting himself as a unifying figure in a fractured country, and was re-elected in 2018 for another five-year term.
But he failed to make headway against the jihadist revolt that has left swathes of the country in the hands of armed Islamists and ignited ethnic violence in the country’s volatile centre.
Kola Tella with agency reports