The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is staying the course. Meeting Friday, March 25 in Accra, Ghana, she announced the maintenance of sanctions against Mali because of the delay in a return of civilians to power.
The West African organization has also decided to sanction members of Guinea’s government and National Transitional Council (CNT) – Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has been in power there since a coup that overthrew President Alpha Condé in September – if a “acceptable timeline for transition” was not presented before April 25, 2022. ECOWAS expressed its “serious concerns” on the duration of the transition, noting that “the six-month timetable for the holding of elections was not respected”. In September, she had already decided to freeze the financial assets of members of the junta and their families.
ECOWAS will also take “individual sanctions” against Burkina Faso’s transitional authorities if they do not release former President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré by March 31, 2022. The organization also called for a delay “more acceptable” than the 36 months so far announced to establish a timetable for democratic transition.
“Our democratic values must be preserved”underlined Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of the ECOWAS commission.
Severe economic retaliation measures in Mali
Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, countries in the throes of political but also security crises for the first two, have all three been the scene of military coups since August 2020. Mali has even experienced two putschs, in August 2020 and May 2021.
ECOWAS, which has suspended the three countries from these bodies, is pressuring the juntas now in power to quickly return power to civilians.
On January 9, it inflicted severe economic retaliation measures on Mali, sanctioning the military’s stated plan to remain at the head of the country for several more years, when they had initially pledged to organize elections in February 2022.
The sanctions in Mali have been maintained despite an order issued Thursday by the Court of Justice of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UMEOA), requiring their suspension. They also remain in progress despite the approach of Ramadan and the hope of a gesture of appeasement that would have affected trade and prices on the eve of a period of increased consumption. The UEMOA decision represented a rare success for the junta.
The potential impact of these sanctions on a poor, landlocked country has sparked deep concern, but also widespread resentment, beyond Mali, against regional organizations.
Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said on Friday that these sanctions would be gradually lifted in Mali if the leaders respect the period of 12 to 16 months.