The Military regime in Mali has been directed to hand over power to a civilian president and prime minister immediately to avoid further sanctions.

This is despite the position taken by the Military ruler Col Assimi Goita to consult his National Committee for The Salvation of the People leadership.

In a communique issued after Tuesday’s consultative meeting chaired by President Akufo-Addo, ECOWAS further directed that the yet-to-be appointed transition Vice President shall not under any circumstances replace the transition President, adding that “the nomination of these two key personalities.”

At an ECOWAS meeting in Mali prior to Tuesday’s session, the military junta has indicated that it will name a military transition government to rule for three years.

In this context, military officials would serve as heads of state and cabinet members. This was later negotiated down to 12 months following a series of meetings with the bloc’s leaders.

But the statement after the latest meeting took a different turn.

At the deliberation, the ECOWAS decided that the transitional period will only be allowed to run for 18 months effective September 15, 2020, within which it hopes a civilian rule would have been put in place.

ECOWAS Meeting
ECOWAS Chairman, Akufo-Addo and Malian military leader Col Assimi Goita – Photo by David Andoh

After this, “ECOWAS will fully accompany the Republic of Mali towards the restoration of constitutional order, in line with the relevant protocols of ECOWAS.”

“With regards to sanctions, in line with the relevant decisions of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, such sanctions will be lifted immediately when the Transition President and the Prime Minister are effectively designated,” the communique revealed after the talks at Peduase Lodge in Aburi.

The regional bloc further urged the lead ECOWAS mediator for the Malian crisis, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, to not relent on his effort and “accompany the civilian-led transition administration to ensure a swift return to constitutional order.”

Mali is currently facing a political standstill after the military, in August executed a coup to oust President Bubakar Keïta.