growing trust

Mali: Poll highlights confidence in Assimi Goïta and Russia

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on May 8, 2023 08:55

 © Demonstrators show their support for Colonel Aissimi Goïta in January 2022. OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT/AFP
Demonstrators show their support for Colonel Aissimi Goïta in January 2022. OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT/AFP

More than 90% of surveyed Malians say they trust their Russian partners and are satisfied with the transitional regime, according to an opinion poll conducted by German firm Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).

More than 90% of surveyed Malians say they have confidence in Russia to help their country in the face of insecurity and jihadism, according to an opinion survey published on Wednesday 3 May.

According to the survey, Malians are also satisfied, by the same margins, with Colonel Assimi Goïta, who took power by force in August 2020.

From 2021-onwards, the Goïta junta broke a long-standing alliance with France and turned their diplomatic and political attention towards Russia. The Malian army received several deliveries of Russian military equipment as well as the reinforcement of about 1,400 mercenaries from the controversial Wagner private military group.

The FES survey also demonstrated that that 69% of respondents are very confident and 22% somewhat confident that Russia will help in the fight against insecurity.

Muffled discordant voices

“Malians have high expectations of the transitional authorities and Russia, but this can change very quickly, as evidenced by the fact that Malians had a very high opinion of the French army at the beginning of their military intervention, which has since been reversed,” says Christian Klatt, the foundation’s resident representative in Mali.

When asked about the degree of confidence in the sincerity of the respondents’ answers, Klatt says that “the survey took place in a context where the space for criticism is very limited by authorities,” now making it difficult for dissenting voices to be heard in the country.

Annual survey

The Mali-Mètre – the Foundation’s opinion survey – is published annually as an analytical tool to gather Malian opinion and bring them to the attention of policy makers. Data collection took place from 11 to 23 February on a sample of 2,295 people spread over Bamako and ten regional capitals.

The general situation in the country has improved for about 82% of surveyed Malians, a clear increase compared to previous years, according to the survey. Roughly 90% Malians say they are satisfied with the management of the transition period leading to a return to civilian rule in March 2024.

About 60% think that respecting the timetable is not important, the study notes. The first step, a constitutional referendum scheduled for 19 March, has been postponed to an unspecified date. Klatt also points out that the high cost of living is one of the main challenges for 44% of Malians, a new finding.

(In collaboration with AFP)

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