Mali is moving towards a dead end. Unless the new government engages all parties in dialogue and starts making good on its pledges to restore the country, the democratic transition is bound to fail, says Mouhamdou Awal.

A few days after the putsch, Mali is at an impasse. While the international community has condemned the move by Colonel Assimi Goita, the opposition has pledged to work with the military regime for the establishment of a democratic transition. But how far will this go?

It is time to match deeds with words in Mali after the military regime declaration. The previous leaders had promised to bring peace, stability and security without any concrete result. Back in 2012, the coup that brought the now-ousted Ibrahim Boubacar to power promised to restart the country. But what have we seen? The country is in a dire situation. Its economy is struggling, lacking in productivity and diversification. Even worse, security problems and poor governance have made the country vulnerable to terrorist groups and attacks on the civilian population.

Given the political and economic instability, the putsch is not a surprise. But if things do not change, Mali will be bound to start all over again one more time. It is time for the military regime to put concrete measures in place.

Revive public institutions

What needs to be done? What should be done? It is clear that everything has to be done over again in Mali because the political system is in a coma. The new administration will have to restructure the judicial system, which has been a playground for the previous executives. Public institutions like hospitals and schools are equally required all over the country. To achieve this, it needs to turn to neighboring Algeria, whose army bears a major responsibility for the instability in northern Mali, including the use of certain terrorist groups.

Mali also needs to reinforce its local armies to fight off the terrorists. At the moment, the troops are inexperienced and poorly supervised. Mali’s military needs training to be more effective and committed in its fight against organized crime and in disarming local rebels, whose development is the result of the weakness of the state.

National dialogue

What’s needed is a national dialogue on how to move the country forward towards a stable democracy. It is the responsibility of the military group, now in a position of power, to gather opposition parties, jihadi groups from the north and center of the country together at one table.

The new leader has already achieved an initial victory after the M5-RFP opposition coalition expressed its willingness to work with him. But no sustainable change is possible until inefficient and corrupt political staff has been replaced by a new generation of public servants focused on the betterment of the country.