Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Advises Mali on Transition

Sierra Leone President Dr. Julius Maada Bio. [Image: Courtesy]
FREETOWN– Sierra Leone President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has said an early return to constitutional rule in the Republic of Mali is the way out of the political stalemate in the Country.

Bio said that “electoral politics is possible even in the midst of a violent insurgency” but first, an “ecosystem should exist within which credible elections can happen.”

“On numerous occasions, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State has called on Mali to return the country to constitutional order by February 2022. But it is also clear to all of us, that the Transitional Leadership of the Malian junta is unable to do so based on communications submitted to the Chair of Authority,” he said.

“Excellencies, without a doubt, Mali has violated the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of 2001 by toppling the government of former President Ibrahima Boubacar Keita in 2020. It was an unconstitutional act.”

“But Excellencies, the issue before us today is what to do collectively to ensure that Mali complies with the ECOWAS norms on democracy and good governance and within the shortest possible timeline,” he concluded.

His advice is in line with the tough sanctions imposed on Mali by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday due to delays to a return to the civilian rule which the block termed as “totally unacceptable”.

ECOWAS agreed to impose additional sanctions on the military junta in Mali, withdraw all ECOWAS Ambassadors in the country, and also close land and air borders between ECOWAS Member States and Mali.

The body also imposed additional sanctions on the junta, including the following:

a) Withdrawal of all ECOWAS Ambassadors in Mali;

b) Closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali;

c) Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, with the exception of the following products: essential consumer goods; pharmaceutical products; medical supplies and equipment, including materials for the control of COVID-19 products, and electricity

d) Freeze of assets of the Republic of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks;

e) Freeze of assets of the Malian State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks

f) Suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from financial institutions.

The communique also disclosed that the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government “instructs all Community institutions to take steps to implement these sanctions with immediate effect.”

Noting that the sanctions will only be gradually lifted “after an acceptable and agreed transition chronogram is finalised and monitored-satisfactory progress is realised in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections.”