Mali’s interim government appoints new ministers

Mali’s interim government appointed new ministers on Monday, with army figures retaining important portfolios despite growing criticism of their role.

Military officers will lead the ministries of defense, security, territorial governance and national reconciliation in the new government, the national broadcaster said.

The interim government of the war-torn West African country promised to appoint a new “broad” cabinet on May 14, amid growing anger at the prominence of military figures and the slowness of promised reforms.

In August, army officers deposed President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was under pressure for tackling the jihadist insurgency in Mali.

The military, threatened by international sanctions, later turned power over to a transitional government that promised to reform the constitution and hold elections within 18 months.

Putschists and men with military ties, however, retained a powerful role in this interim government.

Coup leader Assimi Goita currently serves as interim vice president, and the interim president, Bah Ndaw, is a retired army officer.

In the new government of 25 ministers announced Monday, the military held on to the strategic portfolios they had during the previous administration.

However, two members of the military junta who deposed Keita – ex-defense secretary Sadio Camara and ex-security secretary Colonel Modibo Kone – have been replaced.

Last month, the interim authorities announced they would hold a constitutional referendum on October 31, with elections next February.

But conflict and political strife across the landlocked country of 19 million people have left doubts as to whether the authorities will stick to the schedule.

Mali is struggling to quell a brutal Islamic uprising that first emerged in the north in 2012, before spreading into the center of the country and into neighboring countries Burkina Faso and Niger.

The M5 opposition movement also called for the dissolution of the interim government this month, demanding “a more law-abiding and legitimate” body.

(AFP)

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