Retired Colonel-Major Bah N’Daw: head of Mali transitional government

By Kazeem Ugbodaga with Agency report

Mali’s former Defence Minister, Colonel Bah N’Daw (Rtd) has been named the Interim President of the troubled nation.

N’Daw will oversee the 18-month transition period in which election is expected to be conducted to usher in a new democratically elected government in Mali.

Mali’s junta leader, Colonel Assimi Goïta is the Vice President of the 18-month transitional government.

This was announced on Mali’s state television.

N’Daw and Goita were appointed by a group electors chosen by the junta.

The newly appointed transitional president’s swearing-in ceremony will take place on Sept. 25, Goita announced.

The Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS, had mounted pressure on the military junta to announce an interim government headed by a civilian, within a week.

N’Daw’s appointment came two days before the end of the ultimatum issued by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the CNSP at the end of the mini-summit held in Accra, Ghana, on September 15.

The appointment of the transitional president and his vice-president came after deliberations of the special commission of which 7 of its 17 members are from the CNSP, said Goita, adding that he was nominated transitional vice-president.

Between May 2014 to January 2015, N’Daw served as Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs under the presidency of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who resigned after the mutiny on Aug. 18 this year.

According to the Transition Charter, which was adopted on Sept. 12 by some 500 participants from different forces of the nation after three days of consultations, the eventual transitional president will be either a military or a civilian, and the transition period would be 18 months.

In addition to the transitional president and his or her vice president, a government will be formed with a maximum of 25 members under the leadership of a prime minister who will be appointed by the transitional president in accordance with the current Constitution.

Also, during the period of transition, a National Council of 121 members composed of those from the political forces of Mali will be set up as the legislative body.

According to ECOWAS, Mali’s political transition should be headed by a civilian, and the transitional vice-president shall not, under any circumstances, replace the transitional president.

ECOWAS also demanded that the CNSP should be dissolved immediately once the civilian transition is put in place.

Following a mutiny on Aug. 18 in the Soundiata Keita camp in Kati, near Bamako, former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested by mutineers.

Keita announced his own resignation that evening, as well as his government and the dissolution of the National Assembly.

This was the country’s second coup in less than 10 years, following the 2012 coup d’état.