Imam Mahmoud Dicko, a central figure in the political crisis in Mali, bluntly warned the soldiers who had just taken power on Friday, urging them to keep the promise of change and refusing to give them “carte blanche”.
“I have asked everyone to meet around Mali. I always ask, but that does not mean that the military have carte blanche,” said this eminent public figure in front of hundreds of people, ten days after the putsch which overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
“We will not issue a blank check to anyone for the management of this country, that’s it,” insisted the rigorous and patriotic imam, reproaching the new masters of Bamako for locking themselves in their headquarters and cut themselves off from living forces.
The imam, a national figure at the crossroads of religion and politics, slayer of corruption and champion of a Mali “refounded” on its religious and social values, is a key player in the political crisis which has shaken the country for several months. besides, plagued by jihadist attacks and intercommunal violence.
It was around him that a civil protest movement gathered in April which mobilized for months for the departure of President Keïta, before a group of officers deposed the head of state on August 18. .
The imam told the junta that it had only reaped the fruits of the action of this movement, said of June 5.
“We led the fight, people died, the soldiers who came to complete (this fight) must keep their word,” he said during a ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of unrest in July.
On July 10, a demonstration called for by the June 5 Movement degenerated into three days of civil unrest, the most serious in Bamako since 2012. The government had reported eleven dead, the opposition speaking of 23.
The protest has irreparably destabilized President Keïta, at the head of the country since 2013 with the support of the international community in the fight against the jihadists. In contrast, the coup d’etat that brought him down was carried out at the cost of a few shots fired and a few arrests, including that of Mr. Keïta.
The putsch raised the question of the role that would be assigned to the June 5 Movement. The junta promised a transition for elections within a “reasonable” time frame and a return of civilians to power.
After the first formal meeting with the colonels on Wednesday, the movement’s leaders, without Mr. Dicko who is not officially part of it, had clearly said that the junta should collaborate with him.
However, the soldiers “lock themselves up” in the Kati camp, where they have established their headquarters about fifteen kilometers from Bamako, criticized Mr. Dicko. “They must sit down with the (June 5 Movement) and all the living forces”; “They don’t have to be problems, they have to be solutions,” he said.
The junta announced Friday inviting political parties and civil society organizations to “exchanges on the transition” on Saturday at 11:00 am (local and GMT).