Mali gets a new constitution

Mali’s military junta adopted a new constitution over the weekend, a month after 97% of folks reportedly voted in favour of the changes (official turn-out was 38%).

Among other things, the new constitution:

  • 💪 Centralises more power in the president
  • 🏛️ Creates a senate (supporters say this will boost representation)
  • 🇫🇷 Demotes French from an ‘official’ to a ‘working’ language, and
  • 👐 Provides amnesty to former coup leaders.

Some of these changes leave the junta’s opponents wondering if its young leader, Colonel Assimi Goïta, plans to run for president in the 2024 elections.

Intrigue’s take: There was genuine support for the junta when it first seized power three years ago, following mass protests against the then president. Folks were tired of the economic malaise and the years-long Islamist insurgency.

But three years on, it’s hard to see how a new constitution addresses those issues. And it seems brave of Mali to grant amnesty to coup leaders while also hosting the Wagner Group (of Russian mutiny fame).

Also worth noting:

  • Mali’s military and the Wagner Group both faced fresh accusations of atrocities yesterday (Monday).
  • Russia will host African leaders in St Petersburg this week for the second-ever Russia-Africa summit. Kenya’s president said leaders were effectively being blackmailed into attending.