Mali’s opposition has dismissed a plan proposed by the Ecowas regional bloc mediation team to form a unity government, pushing for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has been the target of weeks of demonstrations.

Mali’s problems “are linked to problems of governance”, said one Ecowas negotiator, according to Bamako correspondent Serge Daniel.

The West African mediation team, led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has proposed three things.

The first element is quickly reforming the country’s constitutional court so that it can once again rule on the results of the last parliamentary election.

Thirty-one MPs must be reinstated by the constitutional court, after the results of their constituencies were overturned by judges – one of the bones of contention for the protest movement. Fresh polls or new elections for certain lawmakers have been ruled out.

The second proposal is to create a government of national unity with quotas for the various portfolios, comprising 50 percent of the ruling party, 30 percent for the opposition and 20 percent for civil society. Jonathan’s mediation team does not suggest the prime minister leave his post.

And an investigation should be carried out into the violence, shooting of protesters and destruction of public property that took place during recent protests. At least 11 people were killed and the country’s anti-terrorist special forces were deployed on the streets.

Opposition objections

The Ecowas team hopes everything can be put in place by 31 July so that Mali can get back on track. However, the opposition M5-RFP group is far from securing its main demand, the resignation of President Keita, or IBK, as he is commonly known.

Ecowas noted in a statement the “necessity to respect the institutions of the republic, notably the means to accede to power constitutionally”.

“First of all, I think Ecowas didn’t analyse the situation properly, it was very superficial in its approach,” said Choguel Maïga, one of the spokespeople for the M5-RFP opposition group.

We continued our consultation on Friday with a visit to Malian President His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and former President His Excellency Dioncounda Traore in Bamako. pic.twitter.com/9BnIKKEIQJ – Goodluck E. Jonathan (@GEJonathan) July 17, 2020

“The country has been taken hostage by an oligarchy, which has taken away all the power. All the institutions are paralysed,” said Maïga, president of the Patriotic Movement for Renewal party.