Mali Awaits Verdict in the Trial of the Sadi Party

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The verdict in the trial seeking the dissolution of the Sadi party (African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence) is anticipated on Monday, May 20th, 2024. Founded 28 years ago by Oumar Mariko, a key figure in the movement that ended the military regime of General Moussa Traoré in the early 1990s, Sadi is one of Mali’s oldest political parties.

The current judicial proceedings were initiated in response to statements made by Mariko, which the transitional authorities claim have “undermined the institutions” of Mali.

In a message posted on social media in November 2023, Oumar Mariko labeled the atrocities attributed to the Malian army as “war crimes.” He also criticized the resumption of hostilities against the armed groups from the North, who were signatories to the 2015 peace agreement.

Mariko has consistently deemed the conflict against the predominantly separatist rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CSP) “useless.” These rebels had agreed to remain within Mali’s territory by signing the peace accord, which has since been officially renounced by Bamako. The Malian government now considers these groups “terrorists” and has reclaimed their stronghold in Kidal.

Additionally, Mariko penned a letter to the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging him to halt the sale of Turkish drones to Mali, citing the high civilian casualties. Despite his plea, the sales continued, leading to a judicial process initiated by the transitional government for “undermining the credibility of the institutions.” This process not only targets Mariko but also seeks to dissolve his party, Sadi.

Sadi currently claims representation in about fifteen municipalities, with several hundred municipal councilors across the country, and has had elected deputies in Mali’s National Assembly continuously since 2002. However, the National Assembly has been replaced by a National Transitional Council during the current transition period.

In 2023, another opposition party, the PSDA, was officially dissolved—an appeal is ongoing. Several associations, including the Observatory for Elections and Good Governance and the Kaoural Renouveau Association, have faced similar fates. Last month, the Malian transitional authorities suspended the activities of all political parties and politically oriented associations.

As Mali awaits the court’s decision, the outcome will be crucial for the country’s political landscape, impacting not only the Sadi party but potentially setting a precedent for the treatment of political dissent during this transitional period.


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