The Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on Monday threatened to sanction parties in the ongoing political crisis in Mali if they fail to accept recommendations aimed at restoring peace to the country.
The virtual meeting attended by President Muhammadu Buhari came up with the recommendations based on the roadmap produced by ECOWAS Special Mediator to Mali, former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Heads of State and Government insisted on the importance and the need to respect the institutions of the Republic, especially the Constitutional means of ascending to power in conformity with the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
They noted that the main Malian institutions are inoperative, saying that it is, therefore, paramount to re-establish, as quickly as possible, these sovereign institutions necessary for the proper functioning of the state and the management of all issues raised by demonstrators.
According to the communique read by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, after the meeting, the session took the following decisions.
On the Parliament, it asked all political parties to endeavour to obtain the immediate resignation of all the 31 Members of Parliament whose election is contested.
“This resignation will pave the way for by-elections. Pending these by-elections, the Parliament will operate with the 116 remaining Members,” the communique said.
On the Constitutional Court, the Heads of State and Government asked all the relevant institutions to facilitate its immediate recomposition according to legal provisions in Mali.
The leaders said the Parliament will propose its representatives after the resignation of the 31 members whose election is contested and the installation of the new bureau.
“In case of difficulty for the various bodies in designating their members to the Constitutional Court, the President of the Republic will use the exceptional power provided by Article 50 of the Constitution of Mali to nominate the 9 members,” they added.
On the Executive Branch, they recommended that a National Unity Government will be established rapidly in line with the recommendations of the Mediator.
The Heads of States and Government encouraged the opposition, in particular, the M5-RFP, to participate in this National Unity Government.
They posited that the main task of this National Unity Government will be to deal with the consequences of the demonstrations and to implement all reforms and recommendations issued from the Inclusive National Dialogue and to improve governance.
“In particular the implementation of the Algiers Agreements will need to be accelerated,” they stated.
They further added: “Given the numerous challenges facing the country, Some members of Government will be nominated before the National Unity Government is formed. These are the ministries in charge of Defense, Justice, Foreign Affairs, National Security and Finance.”
The ECOWAS leaders also asked the relevant authorities to quickly conduct those inquiries to determine and identify those responsible for the violence that led to deaths and casualties as well as public and private properties destruction on July 10th, 11th, and 12th 2020.
They reiterated their solidarity with the Soumaila CISSE, Leader of the Opposition, abducted since March 25″ 2020 and insisted that the Malian authorities must intensify efforts for his release.
The leaders asked the ECOWAS Commission to put in place a Monitoring Committee for the implementation of all the measures, which should include representatives from Government, Parliament, the Judiciary, Civil Society, M5-RFP, women, the youth, with the participation of the local Representative of the African Union the United Nations, and chaired by ECOWAS.
They directed all stakeholders to implement all the decisions and measures within 10 days.
“The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government request the commission to consider sanctions against all those who act contrary to the normalization process of the crisis “ the communique declared.
In his opening remark, President Buhari appealed to all the Malian stakeholders to consider the proposals for the reform of the constitutional court and the establishment of modalities for resolving the continuous 31 seat issue at the National Assembly.
He said equally significant, is the need to address governance challenges, whose manifestations are at the core of restiveness across the country.
According to him, to address these matters holistically, it is important that all Malians embrace the call for a government of national unity where exclusivity of participation in the affairs of governing their country will be a responsibility of each and every Mali sector.
Buhari added: “I wish to reiterate the imperative of compromise and concessions for a peaceful resolution of the current crisis, which will be acceptable to all parties.
“It is necessary that we realise the general fragility of our sub-region hedged in different layers of negative tendencies in the Sahel, hence the need to always for us to trade cautiously in handling the multiple challenges confronting our sub-region, especially the larger level of insecurity, which terrorism and insurgency activities represent in west Africa.
“Finally, while thanking our development partners, the European Union, France, African Union and the United Nations, I call on them to continue to support efforts for national, regional security of West Africa.”