Bah N'daw (right) and Colonel Assimi Goita were sworn in on 25 September as President and Vice President of Mali's Transition Government respectively in. The army officer has now assumed full presidential powers Bamako/Photo: GEJ

Mali’s coup leader becomes transitional president

A day after he declared himself interim president, Colonel Assimi Goïta, who led the recent coup in Mali, has been declared the transitional president by the country’s constitutional court.

The court said Friday’s decision was due to the “vacancy in the presidency,” BBC reported.

The court’s ruling added that Goïta should take on the responsibilities of interim president “to lead the transition process to its conclusion,” the BBC added.

The Goïta-led junta seized power on Monday after it arrested interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, a decision that drew international backlash.

The two leaders were released Thursday after international negotiators flew to the capital Bamako to broker a deal, but the military had ensured the detainees had been made to resign in detention.

Mr Goïta said that both men had failed in their duties and were seeking to sabotage the country’s transition.

This week’s coup followed a cabinet reshuffle that had two army officers replaced; with Mr Goïta saying he ought to have been consulted before their replacement.

“We had to choose between disorder and cohesion within the defence and security forces, and we chose cohesion,” Mr Goïta defended his actions on Friday, in his first public comments since seizing power.

He added that a new prime minister would be appointed within days, and that the elections slated for next year would still go ahead as planned, AFP news agency reported.

The transition government, which was inaugurated in September 2020, was expected to be in office for 18 months during which it will organise new elections to produce a democratically elected president and parliament and restore all organs of a democracy.

Colonel Goita and his co-coup plotters seized power on 18 August, deposing former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 75, after months of protests over an eight-year-old jihadist insurgency, economic problems and entrenched corruption.

The coup was Mali’s fourth since gaining independence from France in 1960.

Kola Tella

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