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Le Monde: The Coups of the Malian Army Are a ‘Royal Way to Get Rich’

2021/07/23 20:07:00 |
"The new coup in Mali confirms the army's thirst for power."
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A French newspaper said that Colonel Asimi Gueta's seizure of power in Mali "is a confirmation of the long-term presence of the army at the top of the pyramid of power in the country."

"By intervening on May 24, 2021 to remove the transitional president, Bah Ndaw, and his prime minister, Moctar Ouane, the Malian army has once again shown its willingness to retain and control the reins of power," Le Monde explained.

This coup followed the dismissal of the Minister of Defense, Colonel Sadio Camara, and the Minister of Security, Colonel Modibo Kone, by the Ndaw/Auane duo.

According to the coup plotters, the two heads of the executive branch did not respect the Transitional Charter, which states that defense and security issues fall under the purview of the Vice President, Colonel Guetta.

 

Seizure of Power

Currently, the army is in contact with the June 5 Movement for the Rally of National Forces (M5-RFP), the only political coalition that has denounced the management of the first phase of this transition.

The Constitutional Court, seized by the vice-president's government, indicated a power vacancy and recognized Guetta as head of the transitional period on the eve of the Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States over this new coup.

The new coup seems to confirm the Malian army's "thirst for power".

More than 50 years ago, sociologist Georges Balandier argued that military coups in Africa are driven by the desire of young soldiers to change the situation. He was already referring to "neo-colonialism" to illustrate the power grabs of young officers who say they want to restore order after political chaos.

Sociologist Francis Akindis pointed out that soldiers and civilians "behave in the same way when they lead a country, because power leads to corruption."

He explains that the fate of the "newcomers" is to fall into the same game, as the coup always leads to a kind of confiscation of power by the army.

The repeated intervention of the army in political life had the effect of renewing and increasing the number of soldiers who participated directly, at various levels, in the administration of political power.

For his part, political analyst Lawyers Tijani used the term "military politicians" to designate the officers who directly participate in the exercise of power.

Bah Ndaw was expelled primarily because he was seeking to break out of the tutelage of the junta that brought him to power.

The attempt by Bah Ndaw and Mukhtar Ouane to sideline two "minister colonels" in strategic positions was considered by Guetta and his entourage as an attempt to loosen the grip imposed by the military in the transitional period.

 

Crime Does Not Fall

Coup is a crime with no statute of limitations under the Malian constitution, and nothing guarantees political immunity from the moment one stops exercising.

A politician, who requested anonymity, stressed that, "the real reason that can explain the coups in Mali is the army's desire for enrichment (creating wealth)."

He pointed out that "the army today is a royal way to get rich, if they commit coups, it is because they do not want to go and fight in the Warfield instead they are cling to power in Bamako."

It is true that “corruption is a scourge often mentioned in relation to the Malian army, and we believe, for example, that there was a misappropriation of more than 1.230 billion CFA francs from military programs during the period 2014-2019,” says Le Monde.

We can also see that the soldiers chose political activities at the expense of securing the country and fighting terrorism, which is their primary mission.

On the night of May 24 to 25, 2021, representatives of the June 5 Movement of the Rally of National Forces were invited to Kati, the stronghold of the putschists.

A new government was formed on 11 June with (one of the figures from the movement) Chogoel Kukala Maiga as Prime Minister.

However, the government is still dominated by the military, which was considered illegitimate by the international community, notably by French President Emmanuel Macron who decided to end Operation Barkhane.

This agreement with the "June Fifth Movement of the Rally of National Forces" came at the expense of denying some points that the movement previously considered non-negotiable.

Kukala Maiga has already retracted the dissolution of the NTC. He will before that present its political statement and proposal on peace agreements in Algiers, as it pledges to work with the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA).

Likewise, Kukala Maiga finally agreed to work with a military chief who had denounced the "militarization of the transition".

There was a conflict within the June 5 Movement of the Rally of National Forces over the characterization of the May 24 coup, as the new Prime Minister, Kukala Maiga, did not condemn the coup, and only spoke of "correcting the transitional period."

 

Political Mistake

In light of the evolution of political interactions in Mali, this second phase of transition appears to be the country's last chance.

Thus, the transition period is an appropriate moment for change and openness.

As the analysts Céline Terriot and Adam Przewski explain, the transformations arise from these two simultaneous processes of eradication and formation.

“Eradication” means the process of breaking away from the old order and, through the constitution, the process of social formation of a new order.

During the transitional period, the period in which the army plays a key role, Przewski asserts that wherever the army remains cohesive and independent, the elements of discontinuity dominate the transition process.

According to these authors, a successful transition requires a break with the old system.

However, we are witnessing the return of the same political norms that once brought Malians onto the streets: nepotism, corruption, and so on.

The army returns to the center of the game stronger than ever.

Although one of its representatives is now prime minister, the June 5 Movement of the Rally of National Forces appears to be the biggest loser in this new government, given that it helped legitimize the coup on the international stage.

Under these circumstances, can the Malian army be the solution to the crisis that Mali is going through?

It appears that these "military politicians" are making a "political mistake" since their first coup against Ibrahim Abubakar Kaita in August 2020, according to Le Monde.

Le Monde concluded: "From now on, they will no longer be able to ascribe difficulties to this or that power, because all the pillars of power are under their control."


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References:

1

Le pouvoir militaire est-il une solution durable au Mali ?

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