By John Ikani
Malian authorities, dominated by the military which seized power in a coup, announced the creation of a body to draw up a new constitution, after extending military rule till 2024.
Colonel Assimi Goïta will be in charge of choosing the members of this committee who will have to present to him a draft version of the text in two months.
The team will include a president, two rapporteurs and experts. It will be able to consult, all political parties and the civil society including religious organisations and traditional authorities.
It would be recalled that on Monday, junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita signed a decree that said the military would run the country until March 2024, when elections would be held.
The move snubbed efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc to scale back the transition.
Mali has been run by a military junta since August 2020, when colonels angered at failures to roll back the jihadists toppled the country’s elected leader, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
They then staged a second de-facto coup in May 2021, but reiterated a vow to hand back control by February 2022. But that was pushed back by two years this week.
The West African country is facing sanctions from its regional partners of the ECOWAS as it did not meet the deadline for elections to be held by the end of February this year.
Negotiations with the west african nations are still underway but the ECOWAS said it regretted the 24-month timetable. They had given Bamakao 16 months maximum to transfer their power to a civilian entity in order to lift the sanctions
ECOWAS has planned a summit on July 3 to review whether to lift tough trade and economic sanctions imposed on Mali in January.
With the new decision to draft a constitution, the ruling military wants to show it is trying to move fast. However, it is yet to be seen if the drafting team will be able to meet the tight target of handing a copy in just two months.