THE Economic Community of West African States has slammed sanctions on the leaders of the military coup in Mali for shifting the date for the presidential and legislative elections earlier fixed for next February.
The sanctions include assets freeze and travel bans on all members of the transitional authority as well as certain family members.
This was contained in a statement issued after an extra-ordinary session of the ECOWAS Heads of Authority and Heads of States under the chairmanship of the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, in Accra, on Sunday.
The regional bloc further said it would consider additional sanctions in December if no progress was made.
Mali’s interim government, which took power following the military overthrow of President Ibrahim Keita in August 2020, had promised that ECOWAS would oversee an 18-month transition back to democracy culminating in elections on February 27, 2022.
But it has made slow progress towards organising the polls, blaming the uprising by armed groups which first emerged in the north in 2012, before spreading to the centre of the country, as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
ECOWAS first imposed sanctions, including border closures, immediately after last year’s coup but lifted them less than two months later after the coup leaders agreed to the 18-month transition.
But the leader of the initial coup, Col Assimi Goita, staged a second coup in May, removing the interim president and taking over the position himself.
Last month, the West African country expelled the ECOWAS’ special envoy to Bamako, accusing him of ‘actions incompatible with his status’.
In the statement announcing the sanctions, ECOWAS stated, “In conformity with the decision taken on September 16, 2021, the Authority decides to impose sanctions with immediate effect against individuals and groups who have been identified, including the entire transition authorities and the other transition institutions. These sanctions will also be imposed on the members of their families.
“The sanctions include a travel ban and a freeze on their financial assets. It further instructs the President of the commission to consider and propose additional sanctions at its next ordinary session on December 12, 2021, should the situation persists.”
Furthermore, the Authority called on the African Union, the United Nations, and the bilateral and other multilateral partners to endorse and support the implementation of the sanctions.
On the political transition in Guinea, the Authority reaffirmed its demand for the unconditional release of President Alpha Condé.
It took note of the developments in Guinea, particularly the adoption of the Transition Charter, the appointment of a civilian prime minister and the formation of the transition government.