Mali: Launch of Inter-Malian Dialogue Amid Controversy

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The inter-Malian dialogue, initiated by the transitional authorities, officially begins this Saturday. Discussions will commence at the communal level, followed by regional and national phases by the end of the month. This dialogue aims to restore national cohesion in the country. However, the suspension of activities of political parties and associations, announced on Wednesday, has sparked a wave of protests, disrupting the discussions before they even begin.

The transitional government insists that the inter-Malian dialogue “must take place in a climate of serenity and not cacophony,” yet in the past two days, voices within and beyond political parties have multiplied, denouncing the decision as “illegal” or even “dictatorial,” with some calling for civil disobedience.

In a joint statement, almost all political parties and civil society organizations in Mali have officially announced that they will not participate in what they deem a “so-called inter-Malian dialogue.” The suspension of their activities seemingly prohibits their participation.

Also absent from the dialogue are the armed groups from the North who signed the defunct 2015 peace agreement. Now considered “terrorists” by Bamako, the rebels of the CSP are not invited. Additionally, the JNIM jihadists, linked to al-Qaeda, who never signed the peace agreement, are also not invited. These absences significantly limit the scope of the dialogue, intended to bring peace to the country.

In a video released on Wednesday, Mahmoud Dicko, an influential imam now in exile in Algeria and a political opponent, argues that the current leaders of Mali only seek to cling to power. He criticizes the inter-Malian dialogue, targeting its organizing committee specifically.

On the occasion of Eid on Tuesday, Colonel Assimi Go├»ta, the transitional president, hailed the start of this dialogue as “the ideal framework to reconcile Malians.”

Soukaina Sghir

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