Mali: ECOWAS lifts sanctions after appointment of new government

By Aïssatou Diallo
Posted on Wednesday, 7 October 2020 18:39

Mali Transitional Government
Former Defense Minister and retired Col. Maj. Bah N'Daw, right, is sworn into the office of transitional president, and Col. Assimi Goita, left, head of the junta, is sworn into the office of transitional vice president, at a ceremony in the capital Bamako, Mali, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (AP Photo)

ECOWAS says it will lift sanctions initially imposed on Mali, the day after the appointment of a transitional government. The government is made up of the military, who hold several key posts, members of armed groups, technocrats and known names from the M5 movement.

Citing “significant progress towards constitutional normalisation and to support this process”, the heads of state and government of The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to lift the remaining sanctions against Mali.

Announced in a declaration dated 5 October, signed by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Ado and the  current chairman of ECOWAS, this decision was made public on Tuesday, just hours after the announcement of the appointment of a transitional government, which was one of the conditions required by ECOWAS  to the lifting of sanctions.

READ MORE Mali: ‘Ecowas should have santioned IBK,’ says Choguel Maïga

More than a week after the appointment of diplomat Moctar Ouane as Prime Minister of the transition, the composition of his government was made public on Monday evening 5 October by the Secretary General of the Presidency, Sekou Traore.

The 25 members of this executive in the guise of a government of national unity will be responsible for leading the transition over the next eighteen months.

Three members of the junta

The junta is carving out a place for itself here. Indeed, several regalian portfolios have been entrusted to the military: four officers, three of whom are members of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) which overthrew Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on 18 August, have been appointed to key posts.

READ MORE Mali: Who’s who in the Bamako coup

Colonel Sadio Camara, former director of Kati’s Prytanée militaire and second vice-president of the CNSP, becomes minister of defence and former combatants.

Colonel Modibo Koné, former commander in Koro (Centre) and third vice-president of the junta, is appointed to the Security and Civil Protection.

Another strategic ministry, that of National Reconciliation, will be handed to another officer who led the coup d’état: Colonel Major Ismaël Wagué, deputy chief of staff of the air force and spokesman of the CNSP (he was the most media-oriented figure in the days following the putsch).

READ MORE ‘There has been no coup d’état in Mali’ – Ismaël Wagué, CNSP spox

The fourth soldier to join the government, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga will head the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation – a crucial portfolio since, pending a possible reform of the electoral system, he will be in charge of organising the polls.

Ministers from armed groups

Members of armed groups that are signatories to the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement have also joined the government.

Mossa Ag Attaher and Mahmoud Ould Mohamed, of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), have been appointed respectively Minister of Youth and Sports and Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

Harouna Mahamadou Toureh, Minister of Labour and Civil Service, will also serve as the government spokesperson, and Alhamdou Ag Ilyene will become Minister of Malians Abroad and African Integration.

Civil society

It should also be noted that several personalities from civil society, including some affiliated to the 5 June Movement – Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), have been appointed.

This is the case of Mohamed Salia Touré, former president of the National Youth Council (CNJ) and member of the Coordination of movements, associations and supporters of Imam Mahmoud Dicko. He “inherits” the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training.

READ MORE Mali: M5-RFP coalition rejects transition charter adopted by junta

The former prosecutor of the anti-corruption unit, Mohamed Sidda Dicko, takes on a notable role as Minister of Justice and Human Rights. A position that is all the more strategic as the new authorities are particularly awaited on issues of the fight against impunity and corruption.

Another figure from civil society, Mohamed Coulibaly, close to Sheik Oumar Sissoko, is entrusted with the Refounding of the State and Relations with Institutions.

Hamadoun Touré, former Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, is appointed Minister of Communication and Digital Economy. Although he was not one of its most media-oriented leaders, he was a member of the M5.


Led by Moctar Ouane, this government also includes several personalities with technocratic profiles.

Zeïni Moulaye, former Minister of Transport and Tourism from 1989 to 1991, former ambassador of Mali in Saudi Arabia from 2016 to 2020 and former diplomatic adviser of IBK, has been appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Alhousseini Sanou becomes Minister of Economy and Finance, while Doulaye Konaté has been appointed the Minister of National Education.

The congressional portion for women

On the other hand, the new 25-member government team has only four women. Apart from the fact that this is contrary to the legislation, which provides that at least 30% of elective and nominative positions should be given to women, none of them have obtained a regalian ministry.

Kadiatou Konaré, daughter of former President Alpha Omar Konaré, has been appointed Minister of Culture, Handicrafts and Tourism. Fanta Siby becomes Minister of Health and Social Development and Bernadette Keïta will be in charge of the Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development. Finally, Bintou Founé Samaké is the new Minister for the Promotion of Women, Children and the Family.

Ecowas calls for the dissolution of the CNSP

In announcing the lifting of sanctions, ECOWAS “noted” the inauguration of Bah N’Daw as President of the transition and the appointment of Moctar Ouane, a civilian, as Prime Minister.

READ MORE Mali: Who is Bah N’Daw, the new transitional president?

It also noted that in the Charter of Transition published in the Official Gazette, the provisions allowing the Vice-President – in this case Colonel Assimi Goïta – to replace the President of the transition were removed.

However, the regional organisation called on the new authorities to “rapidly implement the other decisions of the Summit (held in Accra on 15 September), in particular the release of all military and civilian officials arrested on 18 August 2020 and the dissolution of the CNSP”.

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