70-year-old former defense minister and retired air force colonel, Bah Ndaw, has been sworn in as interim president of Mali. A ceremony was held in the capital, Bamako, and follows former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita having been unseated in a military coup over a month ago.
Al Jazeerah reports coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita has been sworn in as vice president of the transition. He had announced Ndaw’s appointment earlier this week. Ndaw will rule for a maximum period of 18 months before nationwide elections are held.
According to Al Jazeerah, Ndaw has been described by former colleagues as “principled”. Yvan Guichaoua, a Sahel expert, described Mali’s new leader as “a lesser-known figure with a reputation of decency” and whose profile “looks acceptable by the domestic political forces and the international community”.
Ndaw said he would work toward “a stable, calm and successful transition” for Mali. He also vowed to honor Mali’s international commitments. Ndaw added that he would crack down on corruption, one of the main criticisms levelled at Keita’s government, and abuses by Mali’s armed forces against civilians.
Following the coup in August, the Economic Community of West African States bloc had suspended Mali from its decision-making institutions, shut borders with Mali, and halted financial flows as a punitive measure to motivate a swift return to civilian rule. It’s yet to be seen, however, whether the sanctions will be lifted following Friday’s swearing-in ceremony.
Umm Muhammed Umar