UN Urges Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali to Restore Democracy
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Nations (UN) has called on the military juntas in the three West African nations of Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali to hand power back to civilians as soon as possible.
The UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, made the call after meeting Senegalese President, Mr Macky Sall, in Dakar on Sunday.
He said they had agreed on the need to keep talking to the de facto authorities in all three countries to restore democracy in the country and swiftly return to “constitutional order”.
All three countries, struggling with a jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region and socio-economic problems including unemployment, have recently experienced military coups with Mali twice in August 2020 and May 2021; Guinea in September 2021; and Burkina Faso in January 2022.
Mr Sall is the current chair of the West African bloc – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has suspended all three countries from its membership.
ECOWAS imposed heavy sanctions against Mali in January after the regime there rejected a rapid return to civilian rule.
It has threatened similar sanctions against Guinea and Burkina Faso if they fail to enable a swift transition to civilian rule within a “reasonable” timeframe.
But the military regimes in both countries rejected the timetable set out by ECOWAS.
Last Monday, the Burkinabe junta said they had no plans to shorten the three-year transition period they had already announced.
On Saturday evening, Guinea’s junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya said he had opted for a 39-month transition period to civilian rule.
The decision was roundly condemned Sunday by opposition leaders in Guinea, including both the party of the ousted president Alpha Conde and opposition groups that had opposed him.
The regime in Mali is also continuing to defy ECOWAS pressure even after being hit with sanctions.
On April 21 it announced the launch of a two-year transition “process” before elections are held.
ECOWAS had called for elections within 16 months at the most.