- About 100 civil society organisations in West Africa have tasked the Economic Community of West Africa on the crisis in Mali
- The CSOs said the ongoing crisis in Mali must be addressed to avoid a spill off into other neighbouring countries
- CSOs said an irreparable security situation could manifest in countries like Burkina Faso, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea
Civil society organisations in West Africa has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to prioritise its intervention process in Mali.
The call by the CSOs was made in a letter addressed to the President of Niger Republic, Issoufou Mahamadou, who is also the chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
The letter signed by the director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Idayat Hassan, and directors of about 100 CSOs across the West African region warned that the ongoing crisis in Mali must be addressed.
According to the organisations, the growing political tension in Mali - which is as a result of the May legislative elections - has placed the administration of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and the opposition, M5-RFP coalition on a collision course.
The M5-RFP coalition is comprised of the Coordination of Movements of Associations and Sympathisers of Imam Mahmoud Dicko (CMAS), the Front for the Safeguarding of Democracy (FSD)and Espoir Mali Koura (EMK).
The CSOs in the letter dated July 13, 2020, also copied the Presidents of France, Denmark, heads of the United Nations, European Union, ECOWAS Department of Political Affairs, ECOWAS department of Peacebuilding Affairs/Early Warning Unit, ECOWAS/AU commissioners for Human Rights among many others.
Also, considering the multidimensional impact the escalation of this political crisis in Mali could have on the West Africa region, the CSOs said an irreparable security situation could manifest in countries like Burkina Faso, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.
The letter also warned that such a crisis could have a regrettable ripple effect in the lives of 172 million people across the West African region.
It also called on President Muhammadou to engage decisively with parties involved to resolve the deadlock between the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and the opposition M5-RFP coalition.
According to the CSOs, it is vital, in the short term, to secure and ensure peace and good governance for the people of Mali with a sustained effort to design a solution which will ensure peace and security within the country under ECOWAS treaties, norms and principles.
“We are aware that ECOWAS has engaged with the leadership in Mali, and there are signs of receptivity to dialogue and discourse. We are also encouraged by the meaningful concessions made by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta,” the letter read in part.
The CSOs encouraged ECOWAS to collaborate with other diplomatic stakeholders, particularly the European Union, France, Denmark etc. to proactively engage all combatants in the North and Central Mali.
“As the AU seeks to make progress on its campaign of ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’ by 2020, we, as civil society and faith-based organisations, stand ready to work with ECOWAS in Mali, in any and every way possible,” the CSOs said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Nigeria's former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has been appointed as a special envoy for the West African region following the crisis in Mali.
Jonathan's appointment as a special envoy was announced by ECOWAS on Tuesday, July 14.
The former Nigerian president is expected to convene a series of talks with all President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, opposition bigwigs, civil society as well as religious bodies.