ECOWAS names ex-president Jonathan special envoy for Mali
Coalition urges regional body to prioritise intervention in crisis
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has appointed former Nigerian President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as special envoy to lead its mediation mission in Mali.
In a statement issued by his media adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, yesterday, the sub-regional body disclosed that Jonathan’s appointment was aimed at resolving the worsening socio-political situation in Mali.
As a special envoy, the former President would facilitate dialogue with major stakeholders in Mali, including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, opposition leaders, civil society and religious organisations towards resolving the socio-political crisis in the country.
Speaking on the appointment, President of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said Jonathan was appointed given his position as former President of Nigeria and his role and contributions to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the region.
“I have the honour, in consultation with the Chair of the Authority, Issoufou Mahamadou and President of Niger, to communicate to you the decision to appoint you as ECOWAS Special Envoy for the socio-political crisis in Mali,” the letter reads.
Similarly, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in West Africa has charged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to prioritise its intervention in Mali over the crisis rocking the country.
In a document signed by directors of about 100 CSOs in the region and addressed to Issoufou Mahamadou, who is Chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, it said the growing political tension in Mali, arising from the May 2020 legislative elections should be urgently addressed.
Led by the Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan, the coalition urged Muhammadou to engage with the parties involved in the crisis to resolve the deadlock between the government of Keïta and the opposition M5-RFP coalition.
It stressed that the elections had placed Keïta’s administration and the opposition, M5-RFP coalition on a collision course. The M5-RFP coalition comprised the Coordination of Movements of Associations and Sympathisers of Imam Mahmoud Dicko (CMAS), Front for Safeguarding Democracy (FSD) and Espoir Mali Koura (EMK).
The letter dated July 13, 2020 was sent to presidents of France, Denmark, heads of the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), ECOWAS Department of Political Affairs, ECOWAS department of Peace Building Affairs/Early Warning Unit and ECOWAS/AU Commissioners for Human Rights, among others.
The coalition also cautioned that considering the multidimensional impact escalation of the crisis in Mali could have on the West African region, a serious security emergency could manifest in Burkina Faso, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.
It said such crisis could have devastating effects on the lives of 172 million people in the region, adding that it was important to ensure peace and good governance in Mali with sustained efforts for a solution, adding that this would ensure peace and security within the country under ECOWAS treaties.
“We are aware that ECOWAS has engaged the leadership in Mali and there are signs of respect for dialogue and discourse. We are also encouraged by the meaningful concessions made by President Keïta.
“The same can also be said of Dicko, who continues to interact with diplomats, UN officials and AU representative, as all parties seek peaceful resolution of the crisis. Nevertheless, significant work is required to reach a truce,” it added.