The military intervened in the governance of Mali on Tuesday by ousting the administration of President Ibrahim Keita, who was accused of failing to live up to the legitimate expectations of the citizens. Without leaving any one in doubt, the military have promised to set up a transition administration that would subsequently conduct elections.
Spokesman of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, as the soldiers call themselves, Col Ismaël Wagué, told the world that they do not have any intention to hold on to power but “ keen on the stability of the country, which will allow us to organise general elections to allow Mali to equip itself with strong institutions within the reasonable time limit”. He added: “Our country is sinking into chaos, anarchy and insecurity mostly due to the fault of the people who are in charge of its destiny.”
The interventionists, and civilians who are celebrating the coup as a welcome development are blaming the situation in Mali on the inept administration of Keita who came to power in 2013. The ousted president was being accused of election fraud and for failing to fulfill his promises to fight corruption and insecurity in Mali.
It is obvious that Malians, who have been restive for awhile because of unsatisfactory leadership were eager for a change. When it became impossible to change a bad government peacefully, according to the people, the military were compelled to come in to save Mali from the dangerous drift. To the celebrating citizens, the military intervention is a good riddance for a shameful administration which they believe has outlived its usefulness.
The situation in Mali is that of a traumatised people who now see the military as a lesser evil, bearing in mind, like the soldiers said, that theirs was a patriotic and rescue mission – for a brief moment, with a promise to return to return to the barracks after a new democratic administration would have been installed.
It is actually regrettable that some African leaders are betraying the confidence reposed in them by their people and giving them reasons to look back to the military for salvation in the 21st century when the entire world no longer tolerate military intervention in governance.
In the case of Mali, they had to make a choice between two evils: failed civilian administration and military intervention, and it does appear that they have embraced the military to enable them get rid of Keita. They were fed up with indigenous tyranny, an aberration that attracted the military – critical stakeholders in project Mali to intervene before the country slides into anarchy in the hand of an alleged inept administration.
Incidentally, the kind of situation that Malians found themselves was what prompted the advisory of late Dr. Nanmdi Azikiwe, when he said: “If independence means the substitution of indigenous tyranny for alien rule , then those who struggled for the independence of former colonial territories have not only desecrated the cause of human freedom but thy have betrayed their people”.
The military intervention in Mali is an indictment on African leaders who take their people for granted. The people of Mali understand that freedom is their birthright, and from all indications they appear to be indifferent with any development that has enabled them to get rid of a leader they see as the face of bondage in their country. However, the world is conscious of the implications of military intervention in politics to regional security.
At the end of the day however, what will matter most is the interest of the people of Mali. It should be placed over and above other considerations.This is our considered opinion.