Mali Opposition Maintains Position
Imam Mahmoud Dicko, considered the figurehead of the opposition June 5 Movement in Mali, accused France of meddling in the nation’s current political crisis. Claiming – without concrete evidence as of yet, that the former coloniser has been moving behind the scenes to influence the choice of the next Malian prime minister.
The Imam expressed his patriotism, "It is a decisive day. It's to show that the Malian people are steadfast. That we are not submissive or willing to give up and that we would rather die as martyrs than live as traitors. But we will have to show as much on August 11th, by the grace of God."
Possible French Political Interference
Dicko also stated that Prime Minister Boubou Cissé has no legitimate political ground to stand on and doubled down on his suspicions of France being behind Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s incessant hold on the presidency – even against the unyielding calls for his resignation by the opposition. "Why is France interfering in the choice of prime minister for Mali? It is France that is behind IBK in these decisions. I am not an enemy of France but France must respect us." The influential Saudi-trained imam did not mince words.
Last month, 11 people died over three days of unrest following an anti-Keita protest in the worst political strife Mali has seen in years. The loose alliance of opposition and religious leaders has been channelling deep frustrations over a dire economy, perceived government corruption, and an eight-year jihadist conflict. The violence triggered Mali's neighbours and allies to intervene, keen to avoid a descent into chaos for the Sahel nation.
Heads of government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on July 27th urged the formation of a unity government, among other measures, to calm the crisis. The June 5 Movement quickly rebuffed the proposals, insisting on Keita's resignation. Dicko has since added his call for Cisse to resign