The Malian junta that seized power in a military coup in August has granted the country’s interim presidency to a civilian, part of conditions set by regional bloc ECOWAS.
The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), led by Col Assimi Goita, announced on Monday that it was appointing former Defence Minister Ba N’Daou as president of the new transitional government.
Col Goita will service as Vice President.
The announcement came barely a week after the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took the decision.
The body has been involved in peace talks with key actors in the Mali political crisis, which reached a peak with the overthrow of the civilian administration by officers from the country’s armed forces, who formed the CNSP.
ECOWAS leaders who attended an Extraordinary Summit in Accra, Ghana, on September 17 issued a communique on several decisions aimed at ensuring peace in the troubled country.
The communique said the meeting was to allow CNSP leaders the opportunity to brief and present to heads of state and government the architecture and roadmap for the political transitional arrangement, in conformity with ECOWAS’ decisions.
ECOWAS insists the transitional government “is the way to go and will be helpful for democracy and good governance’’.
Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said the summit resolved that the transitional government must be headed by a civilian and set a transition period of at most 18 months, effective September 15.
“Both the President and Prime Minister of the transition will be civilians during the entire period. The nomination of these two key personalities will be done immediately,” the communique said, adding the CNSP will be dissolved immediately after the civilian transition is established.
“Once a civilian-led transition is put in place, Ecowas will fully accompany Mali towards the restoration of constitutional order, in line with relevant protocols,” it added.
The meeting also agreed that sanctions on Mali will be lifted immediately after the transition President and the Prime Minister are effectively designated.
The junta has not appointed a civilian as prime minister.
The leaders called for the immediate restoration of democracy in Mali and said they will continue to seek solutions to the political crisis.