LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – With a new transitional government following the second coup in nine months, Mali’s interim President Colonel Assimi Goita named the country’s new civilian prime minister on Wednesday.
Choguel Kokalla Maiga’s appointment was widely expected. He is the leader of the 5 June-Rally of Patriotic Forces movement, the same group that took part in the overthrow of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta last year.
Keita was forced out by young army officers, led by Goita, following mass protests over perceived corruption.
There has been support among some civilians for the new coup on May 24th.
Goita said he had little choice to intervene after what he called “disorder” in the country.
Army officers upset with a government reshuffle detained President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane. They were later released and resigned.
The transitional president asked for support for his preference of a prime minister from the opposition M5 movement, a once-powerful group which the military sidelined after the August coup.
Goita also said that the new prime minister will carry out a broad consultation between the different factions.
At a crisis summit in Ghana on Sunday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to suspend Mali from the 15-nation bloc and urged Goita to appoint a new civilian premier and forge a new “inclusive government”.
But the leaders stopped short of hitting the country with sanctions to back this demand — a move that they had adopted after a first coup last August.
But international pressure is mounting, the African Union and the West African bloc Ecowas have both suspended Mali and called for a return to civilian rule.
In its statement on Wednesday, the AU called for the military to “urgently and unconditionally return to the barracks, and to refrain from further interference in the political processes in Mali”.
It warned that if the military did not hand back power to civilian transitional leaders, “the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions and other punitive measures”.