The transition in Mali is what is being discussed today with Wathi.
They believe there is a certain moment of integrity demands from the Malian citizens that need to be seized in order not to miss the transition.
Yes, from the demonstrations by the M5 movement to the remarks of Malian citizens about the choice of personalities to lead the transition, we have heard a lot of condemnation of corruption and call for the emergence of a new political class with integrity. The election of retired Colonel Bah Ndaw to preside over the country during the transition has been widely welcomed by many, mainly because he is described as a person with integrity who was not associated with his military career with business. embezzlement.
The choice that fell on the former foreign minister, Moctar Ouane, was also appreciated by many Malians because he is known for being sober and honest. The issue of the integrity of political actors has become central in Mali, both for citizens, especially young people, who condemn bad governance that deprives them of opportunities, and for actors who use it to discredit their political opponents and prosecute their particular interests.
We must seize this special moment where a popular demand for integrity is expressed in order to push for a break in political and administrative practice and to propose institutional reforms that strengthen all financial control institutions, all the mechanisms that encourage more integrity in it. public life. Our previous work in Wathi on the fight against corruption and institutional reforms contains some links in this regard.
You warn against the perception that the military is necessarily more virtuous than civilians …
Yes, this demand for integrity also translated into fairly broad support from Malians for a transition that would be led by the officers responsible for the coup. Many believe that the civilian Malian politicians who have run the country over the last few decades are responsible for the generalization of corruption, the weakening of the state and, de facto, the shift to insecurity in much of the territory. They are not mistaken, but we must not forget that the military has also always played a very important role in the political life of the country and has also been too many major players in all forms of corruption and illegal enrichment.
You will recall that a report by the United Nations expert group on Mali – published a few days before the coup – seriously involved senior military officials even in criminal activities such as drug trafficking …
Absolutely. Whether in Mali, Niger or Nigeria, we also know the extent to which the major scandals of abuse of public office for the purpose of private enrichment have often affected the defense and security sector and so many civilian and military figures.
In connection with the transition in Mali, it will therefore be necessary to pay as much attention to civilians as to soldiers who have been appointed to positions of responsibility where there is a possibility of embezzlement. One of the key risks of a transitional period is that some see it as a unique opportunity to take sustainable action to resolve their financial problems in a matter of months by taking advantage of a public service contract, service or property contract. to the state obtained through personal circumstances and without having the necessary qualifications.
We must also pay attention to the minimum respect for the rule of law and clarify, now that the institutional framework for the transition has been defined, the situation of all civilian and military personalities arrested since 18 August, including the former Prime Minister. The transition in Mali is a crucial moment, which can be a positive historical turning point or, on the contrary, transformed into a new period of deepening the dissolution of the Malian state and society. The effort is crucial for the whole region. Without political and institutional stabilization in Mali, there will be no security in the Sahel and throughout the West African Quarter. It’s as simple as that.