Mali – Constitutional review : UN concerned about non-stakeholder consultation

In his new report on Mali, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his “concern” over the fact that the Malian government did not consult all the parties before the adoption of the new Constitutional draft.

“The bill proposed to strengthen the powers of the president to the detriment of the Prime Minister and the Parliament. It was also suggested that the president should retain control over the judicial system, against the council of the Committee of Experts, concerned about the independence of the judiciary”, notes Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General in his report.

In Mali, the debate over the constitutional review is raging between the supporters of the “YES” and “NO” camps. The latter described the text as a “presidential regime” because of the strengthening of the powers of the President of the Republic, the country’s first institution. The text, adopted by the National Assembly, must be the subject of a referendum scheduled for July 9.

For the United Nations, present in Mali through a peacekeeping mission since 2013, “there is no mention” of the representation of traditional authorities, women and young people in the High Council of Municipalities. A point provided in the Peace Agreement “to ensure greater openness”.

“I am concerned that Malian stakeholders have not been consulted by the Council of Ministers prior to adoption”, Mr Guterres said, referring to the signatories of the peace agreement. Before calling on the government to “reach consensus and be open before the referendum”.

After the vote in the National Assembly, the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) raised the same concerns. But according to a source close to the government, a constitution cannot be “an inventory of demands of the armed groups” reproducing the words attributed by the local press to the Algerian diplomat Ahmed Boutache, chairman of the peace agreement follow-up committee (CSA).

Aboubacar Dicko