A DNT EXCLUSIVE – The Malian youth may not necessarily like to be led by the military. But what they hate more is influence from France. Col. Assimi Goita has made it clear that the days of France’s domination of Mali are numbered. And for that the Malian youth is “100% behind” him.
In an exclusive interview with DNT, Muntaga Diakite, President of the International Youth Council of Mali – Ghana Section, explained the events leading to the second coming of Col. Assimi Goita.
Diakite was fresh off a meeting with Col. Assimi Goita who took time off his meeting with the ECOWAS leaders in Ghana to meet his countrymen and women at Alisa Hotel in Accra.
The meeting was attended by a cross section of the Malian community in Ghana majority of which is the youth. Goita is reported to have calmly explained his motives. He even repeated that he has no hidden agendas and that all he wanted was for the malian people to be free from any form of neo colonialism from France.
It would be recalled that on 18 August 2020, elements of the Malian Armed Forces began a mutony. Soldiers on pick-up trucks stormed the Soundiata military base in the town of Kati, where gunfire was exchanged before weapons were distributed from the armory and senior officers arrested.
Tanks and armoured vehicles were seen on the town’s streets, as well as military trucks heading for the capital, Bamako. The soldiers detained several government officials including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who resigned and dissolved the government.
The ECOWAS, led on the Mali mission by former Nigerian Presidet Goodluck Jonathan, stepped in and forced the new military leader to accept a transition government with him as Interim Vice President and Bah Ndaw as Interim President.
The transition government was essentially a form of power sharing between civilians and members of the military who had just overthrown Keita’s government.
All was reportedly well with cohesion within the transition government until after the January 27, 2021 visit to Emmanuel Macron by Interim President Bah Ndaw.
Upon his return, Ndaw reportedly began making decisions without involving his number two man Goita who hold the gun and, from reputation, is not shy about using it.
In a typical government the president decides what to and what not to involve his or her vice president depending on the decision.
The transition government was different especially when you consider that Goita had control over the country prior to accepting the ECOWAS brokered agreement to bring about the transition government of which he is the vice president.
An alienated Goita therefore felt compelled to repeat his signature coup d’etat whereby he arrests the president and a presidential resignation follows. Only this time, reports indicate that President Bah Ndaw voluntarily resigned. He admitted such at a meeting with an ECOWAS team.
But at the heart of the conflict is the overall sentiment in Mali. The Malian youth comprise 72% of the population. They are relatively more exposed than the generations before them which had all but accepted France’s Godfather status over their country.
Muntaga says that is fast changing in Mali. Bah Ndaw lost favor with the Malian people the moment they saw him as “under the instructions of France.” “The youth in Mali thinks “France is the root of all evil in Mali,” Diakite added.
Goita on the other hand has aligned himself with Russia, prompting France to threated a few days ago to withdraw its troops from Mali.
Another Malian, Baba Ekou, sees the French threat as lame. “How do we even know that they did not themselves create the security situation that the have been pretending to solve for decades,” Ekou asked.
“Let them go. We have Russia, And Russia has not proven to have the colonial mentality that France has,” added Ekou.
The scenario appears fluid. It is unlikely that France would walk away from its vast commercial interests in Mali and would want to continue exerting its influence in the country.
On the other hand, like their counterparts in other francophone countries, the Malian youth does not appear to follow in their fathrs’ footsteps of accepting France’s continued interests.
Something has to give. And it remains to be seen what that will be.
DNT News with Correspondence report from Julius Ouya.