It was an eventful weekend in Mali’s political atmosphere as President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita formed and implemented a new cabinet between Thursday and Sunday.
On Thursday, Mali’s first President Modibo Keita (73) was appointed as Prime Minister following Moussa Mara’s resignation due to constant pressure from the head of state due to strife torn conditions in Mali.
Keita’s new cabinet comprises of Tieman Hubert Coulibaly (former foreign minister) in the portfolio of defence and verterans, Mamadou Igor Diarra is the new minister of economy and finance, with Choguel Kokala Maiga occupies the economy and communication portfolio. Mohammed Ag Erlaf is the new minister of environment, sanitation and sustainable development and Dramane Dembele the new minister of urban development and housing.
This extremely slimmed down government will be taking various tasks head on, mostly which are in relation to economic, financial and social ills the country is facing. Prior to this new government, the International Monetary Fund temporarily blocked all development aid to Mali following its observations of irregularities in the country’s state accounts – including the presidents purchase of the presidential jet and military aircraft without competitive bids, however the funds unfroze after Mali revised procurement roles and an active effort towards creating greater transparency and accountability was noted by the IMF.
A greater challenge is to stabilize peace in the northern region of Mali, where since 2012, islamist groups seized control of Azawad, the northern desert region in hope to obtain recognised independence to develop the poverty stricken area, as due to decades of lack of access to education, health (medical centres) and all round development.
Although there is a new face of government, Mali head of state assures that there are close to signing a peace deal with the Tuareg. One can only hope that the new government wont only bring stability to the entire country, particularly Azawad’s dire need for development.