ECOWAS Suspends Mali Until Return To Civil Rule

President Muhammadu Buhari receives briefing from former President and ECOWAS Special Envoy on Mali, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on Mali Crisis at the State House Abuja. PHOTO: SUNDAY AGHAEZE

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  • Regional Parliament Approaches Court For Status Of Mali Members

Mali has been suspended from the West African regional bloc, Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) until the current military dictators’ vacant office and return the country to civil rule.

The decision was announced after an emergency meeting of the sub-regions leaders in Accra, Ghana on Sunday.

Ghana’s Foreign Affairs minister, Shirley Ayorko Botchwey told journalists that the Mali junta’s non-adherence to the mediatory role of ECOWAS necessitated the decision of ECOWAS leaders.

She added that the West Africa leaders gave a few days ultimatum to the Colonel Assimi Goitta-led junta to restore a civilian to the post of Prime Minister so that the transition agreed to follow the ouster of the democratically-elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August, is followed up to its February 2022 terminal date.

ECOWAS envoy, former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan had briefed the meeting behind closed doors of his mediatory trips to Mali last week.

The communiqué released after the meeting revealed that Extraordinary Summit was convened to review the prevailing socio-political crisis in Mali following the arrest, detention, and subsequent resignations of the President and the Prime Minister of the Transition on 26th May 2021, as well as to determine the next line of action for the transition.
The communiqué read that after the presentation of the report by Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria and ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, the Heads of State expressed strong and deep concerns over the present crisis in Mali, which is coming halfway to the end of the agreed transition period, in the context of the security challenges related to incessant terrorist attacks and the Covid-19 Pandemic with its dire socio-economic impacts.

The Heads of State subsequently demanded the immediate release of the former President and Prime Minister of the Transition who are kept under house arrest.

They also strongly condemned this recent Coup d’états, which they agreed was a violation of the decisions taken at the extraordinary Summit held at the Peduase Lodge, Aburi, Ghana on 15th September 2020 and a violation of the Transition Charter.
The Head of States after extensive discussions on the situation in Mali also took the following decisions: they reaffirmed the importance and necessity of respecting the democratic process for ascending to power, in conformity with the 2001 ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. They particularly condemned all actions that led to ongoing instability in Mali and its attendant consequences in the region.
They decided to suspend Mali from ECOWAS Institutions in line with ECOWAS provisions; and called for a new civilian Prime Minister to be nominated immediately.
They also demanded that a new inclusive government should be formed to proceed with the transition programme; while reaffirming the need to respect the transition period of 18 months decided in Accra.

In this context, the date of 27th February 2022 already announced for the Presidential election should be absolutely maintained. A monitoring mechanism will be put in place to this effect.

They also reiterated the earlier decisions that the Head of the transition, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister of the transition should not, under any circumstances, be candidates for the forthcoming Presidential election; even as they reaffirmed ECOWAS’ support to accompany the transition process in Mali, and urged all international partners (the African Union, the United Nations, and the European Union) to continue to support Mali towards the successful implementation of the transition.
They however congratulated and encouraged the Mediator to persevere with his mediation efforts and remain seized of the situation in Mali through the Local Monitoring Committee, while calling for the immediate implementation of all the decisions in conformity with the transition timetable defined, and asked the Mediator to return to Mali within a week to engage stakeholders on these decisions.
Meanwhile, following the expulsion of Mali from ECOWAS, the Regional body’s Parliament has approached the Community Court of Justice of the body for advice on whether members of the National Transitional Council of Mali elected to represent the country in the regional parliament should be sworn in.

In suit no: ECW/CCJ/ADV: OPN/01/21 the Parliament is asking the Court to interpret Articles 18.1 (g) and 18.2 (a and b) of the Supplementary on the enhancement of the powers of the Parliament which relate to the status of members nominated from the transitional parliaments from the Member States.

A panel of three judges of the ECOWAS Court of Justice led by Hon. Justice Edward Amoako Asante will on 31st May 2021 hear the application titled ` Interpretation of Supplementary Act’ and signed by the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis.

The request relates to a letter dated 7th January 2021 from the President of the Conseil National de Transition (CNT) of Mali, which serves as the country’s parliament, forwarding the list of the six members elected at the CNT’s plenary sitting on 5th January 2021 as the country’s representatives to the ECOWAS Parliament.

In the application dated 29th March 2021 the speaker acknowledged that the CNT is an organ of the transition Government of Mali which has been recognized by the ECOWAS Community, African Union, and the International Community.

He further stated that the CNT serves as an interim Parliament that will vote Political, Institutional, Electoral, and Administrative reforms leading to the return to Constitutional order as provided for in their Transitional Charter and that in conformity with the Supplementary Act relating to the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, the new Members have to be sworn in before taking office as members of the ECOWAS Parliament.

He also stated that Article 18(a) of the Supplementary Act states that representatives of ECOWAS Parliament shall be elected by direct universal suffrage by the citizens of Member States.
It is against this background that the Speaker is asking the Court to determine and pronounce whether or not the members of CNT elected at a plenary sitting on January 2021 to represent Mali at the ECOWAS Parliament can be considered as ECOWAS Parliament Members and be sworn in.

Other members of the panel are Hon. Justice Dupe Atoki and Hon. Justice January Costa.

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