World Bah Ndaw sworn in as Mali’s transitional president following coup
Former Mali dictator Moussa Traore laid to rest
Mali held a state funeral for ex-dictator Moussa Traore on Friday, attended by the head of the ruling military junta and other former leaders of the Sahel state, according to AFP journalists. In attendance on Friday was the head of Mali's ruling military junta Colonel Assimi Goita, part of a group of young officers who launched a coup ousting president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18. Former President Amadou Toumani Toure -- who deposed Traore in the 1991 coup -- was also among the mourners, alongside other ex-leaders.Russian diplomats attended the ceremony on Friday, according to AFP journalists, but no French or European Union diplomats were present.
Retired colonel and former defence minister Bah Ndaw has been sworn in as Mali’s interim president, more than a month after a military coup overthrew embattled leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita was also sworn in as the vice president of the transition during a ceremony on Friday held in the capital, Bamako.
How Mali's coup affects the fight against jihadists
Thousands of UN, French and regional soldiers are in Mali fighting Islamist militants - what difference will the coup make?The final shape of Mali's promised transition to new elections is yet to be settled several weeks after soldiers seized power in Bamako, forcing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to resign, although former Defence Minister Ban Ndaw has been named as interim leader.
The ceremony was attended by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who led a delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc to the country.
Ndaw’s appointment was announced earlier this week by Goita.
The interim president will rule for a maximum of 18 months before staging nationwide elections.
Following the August 18 coup, ECOWAS suspended Mali from its decision-making institutions, shut borders and halted financial flows in an attempt to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
ECOWAS envoy Goodluck Jonathan said he hoped the punitive measures would be lifted following Ndaw’s inauguration, although no decision has yet been taken.
‘Reputation of decency’
Mali’s neighbours took a hard line with the military government, fearful that the unconstitutional transfer of power may set an example for their countries and undermine international efforts to contain a worsening security crisis in the country at the heart of the fight against armed groups in the Sahel region.
Mali: a civilian or military president? Both, my colonel
© HABIBOU KOUYATE Bah Ndaw in Bamako, in July 2014. The man appointed to lead the transition, Bah Ndaw, is a retired officer. Its vice-president will be the current head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta. The president of the transition appointed this Monday is indeed a civilian. The requirement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is therefore fulfilled. For form.
Large parts of Mali already lie outside of government control due to a lethal armed uprising that first emerged in 2012 and has also inflamed ethnic tensions.
In the weeks leading up to the coup, tens of thousands of opposition supporters had taken to the streets to demand Keita’s departure, protesting against a disputed parliamentary election, persistent economic woes, corruption and the failure to address the escalating violence.
Jean-Herve Jezequel, project director for the Sahel at the Crisis Group, said it was “very hard to tell” whether the new leadership could succeed where previous administrations had failed.
“They have indicated they are very willing to address the deeper social problems of Mali,” he told Al Jazeera, noting that the country was facing both security and governance issues.
“Everybody wonders if military people are best positioned in issues of governance. An additional issue is that Mali has a lot of issues related to the Sahel, with ECOWAS closing the borders. Many donors are unable to continue funding many of the projects,” he said.
“Will they have the money, the resources to address the deep structural issues of Mali? That is a tough question.”
Following the announcement on Monday about Ndaw heading the transitional government, Yvan Guichaoua, a Sahel expert at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies, described the new leader as “a lesser-known figure with a reputation of decency” and whose profile “looks acceptable by the domestic political forces and the international community”.
“The ECOWAS wanted a civilian president and Ndaw meets this criterion, even though he is retired military,” he told Al Jazeera. “We’re now getting closer to having a functional institutional architecture able to govern Mali, in which the junta will, in any case, remain highly influential.”
Mali junta chief's govt role softened after regional pressure .
Mali's military junta has abandoned a contentious measure that would have enabled its leader to potentially replace the interim civilian leader of the Sahel state, according to an official document released Thursday. Under an early roadmap for restoring civilian rule after the August 18 coup, seen by AFP, junta head Colonel Assimi Goita was empowered to replace the president of the interim government if the latter were incapacitated. Goita is vice president of an interim government that is due to govern Mali for 18 months before staging elections; former colonel Bah Ndaw is its president. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.