Political Crisis: Jonathan Returns to Bamako for Peace, Urges Malians to Embrace Dialogue

*Former President Goodluck Jonathan (m) answering questions from newsmen in Bamako, Mali
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By Ngozi Ekhator 

Former President of Nigeria and ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, returned to Bamako on Monday to continue his mediation assignment towards resolving  the nation’s socio-political crisis.

Jonathan, who had earlier visited Mali twice in the last one month is this time undertaking a monitoring and follow up mission to engage stakeholders on the implementation of the roadmap decided by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government which detailed measures to end the protracted political crisis and restore peace in the country.

He urged Malians, especially members of the opposition, to stop further demonstrations to enable ongoing discussions to bear more fruits.

On Monday he observed the inauguration of the nation’s reconstituted nine-member constitutional court in Bamako which is described as a key recommendation by ECOWAS leaders as a means of moving the country forward. Another recommendation which has been implemented was the appointment of ministers of six key ministries to partially constitute the cabinet.

Dr. Jonathan’s presence as a guest during the swearing-in ceremony of the nine constitutional court judges is seen as a strong indication that ECOWAS is deeply engaged in resolving Mali’s political crisis.

Jonathan, who has been leading the ECOWAS mediation mission to Mali, also on Monday night met with some civil society members shortly after he visited populist imam Mahmoud Dicko, who is seen to have links to those behindanti-government protests, in his house in Bamako. The former President is scheduled to continue his consultations on Tuesday by meeting different stakeholders and members of the international community.

At a press conference in Bamako last night Jonathan appealed to the Malian opposition to stop further demonstrations and embrace dialogue as a means of resolving pending issues.

He said: “We are happy that progress is being made. Today some judges of the supreme court were appointed today. The constitutional court was also inaugurated today. At least, the judicial arm is now complete.

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“We know some issues are still pending that are yet to be concluded. We know that before people go on demonstrations,there must be some challenges. These have to be resolved. On behalf of ECOWAS we appeal to the people of Mali to stop further demonstrations and embrace dialogue.

The former President said further: “Those who organised the demonstration have done well to make the whole world know about their issues. The whole of the ECOWAS region is now aware of the issues in Mali just as the African Union, theEuropean Union, the United States are all aware of the situation here.

We recognise that the right to embark on peaceful protests is in the constitution of Mali. In that regard,those behind the protests have succeeded in bringing these issues to the knowledge of all.

“This is now the time to stop further demonstrations and give room for dialogue. Demonstrations per se, does not solve problems. It is discussion and peaceful engagement that solve problems.

“Now that demonstrations have brought out these issues, let us then sit down and discuss to find ways of resolving them.

“Encouraging more demonstrations may expose the young ones to more danger. More property and lives may be lost.

“You can start a demonstration but you can hardly predict how it will end. On behalf of ECOWAS we call on the great people of Mali to give peace a chance. The issue of demonstrationsshould be discontinued so that fruitful discussions can begin. Our commitment is to continue to meet with all the stakeholders until the problem is solved.”

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