Mali: Political parties call for presidential elections to end military transition

Monument of Independence, located in Bamako (capital of Mali). Screenshot from the Tv5monde YouTube Channel. Fair use.

Since the coup d’état on May 24, 2021, a transition government has been in charge of Mali and shows no sign of returning to the civilian-led government that political parties are calling for. What’s more, it has also recently announced measures to restrict the press.

Following the first coup d’état in August 2020, Colonel Assimi Goita took charge of the country from  to

The presidential elections scheduled for February 2024 did not go ahead. In the lead up to March 26, 2024, political parties and civil society organizations subsequently expressed their eagerness to hold elections and restore civilian rule. According to them, the country’s military leaders have no intention of holding these elections.

However, in June 2023, the ruling junta held a referendum for its new constitution, which was approved with 97 percent of the vote. This new constitution can be summarized in a few key points: it strengthens the president’s authority; it grants amnesty to those responsible for the coup; it strengthens the army’s powers in its operations and creates a senate.

In an interview with the German media outlet, Deutsche Welle, Malian sociologist, Yacouba Dogoni, stated:

La classe politique ne comprend pas pourquoi aujourd'hui on ne peut pas organiser des élections alors qu'il y a quelques mois, on a organisé un scrutin référendaire dans une situation un peu délicate.

Politicians don't understand why we can't just hold an election now when we held a referendum just a few months ago during a somewhat precarious situation.

Oumar Mariko, leader of the African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence (SADI) party, who has been in exile since 2022, analyzed the current situation on French television network, Tv5monde. In this video, he explains the junta’s intention to cling to power. He also blames the junta for the hysteria linked to the insecurity within the population and maintains that there is a civil war taking its toll on this country.

Activities of political parties suspended

On April 10, 2024, the junta used a decree to suspend all activities of political parties and associations and address the political unrest. Papa Ismaila DIENG, a journalist, political blogger, and member of Africtivistes, a monitoring body for all African countries, published the text for this decree on X (formerly Twitter):

Tweet -#Mali – The Council of Ministers adopted a decree suspending all activities of political parties and associations.

For some time now, Malian politicians have been calling for an end to this transition and to hold elections.


REPUBLIC OF MALI – One People, One Purpose, One Faith


On Wednesday, April 10, 2024, the council of ministers attended an ordinary meeting chaired by Colonel Assimi GOITA, Transitional President and Head of State, in the conference room of Koulouba Palace.

Upon reviewing the items on the agenda, the council adopted draft texts, made appointments and heard presentations.


  1. Based on the report by the Minister of State, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, the council of ministers has adopted a draft decree suspending the activities of political parties and associations.

Political parties and associations are governed respectively by Law No.05-047 of August 18, 2005, and Law No.04-038 of August 5, 2004, which contain charters on political parties and associations.

Under these laws, political parties are citizen organizations with a common ambition, a vision for society, for which they participate in politics through democratic means. An association is an arrangement whereby several people pool their knowledge or activities on an ongoing basis for purposes other than sharing profits.

This law on associations does not authorize political parties to form associations. These groups are established as undeclared associations, which have no legal status since the adoption of Ordinance No.2024-008/PT-RM of March 28, 2024, which amends  the law on associations.

In terms of the many challenges that our country is facing, the transitional authorities have taken comprehensive action, which takes the security and development issues into consideration for the well-being of the people.

In short, the decree states that:

Sont suspendues jusqu'à nouvel ordre pour raisons d'ordre public les activités des partis politiques et les activités à caractère politique des associations sur toute l'étendue du territoire national.

All activities of political parties and associations are suspended throughout the national territory until further notice on public order grounds.

In an interview with Radio France Internationale (RFI), Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, Minister of Territorial Administration and government spokesperson, justified this suspension as follows:

🇲🇱 In #Mali, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, Minister of Territorial Administration and government spokesperson, announced the suspension of activities of political parties and associations.
► He justified this decision on political and security grounds.

— RFI Afrique (@RFIAfrique) April 11, 2024

The comments below this post on RFI’s X (formerly Twitter) account appear to suggest that some Malians support this suspension and the ruling junta. This is the case for Mohamed, who quoted that post and commented:

What good has this constitutional order done Malians? It's just a pretext for those who studied in France and their French journalist friends and others to plunder Malian resources. Those days are over. We don't want this constitutional order anymore.

Another account under the name of  M5RFP, shares this stance. They also commented sharing the post:

Long live the Malian transition. The time for party politics is over. We’re fully focused on our country and getting it back on a solid footing.

Freedom of speech restrictions

On April 11, 2024, the junta made another decision. Only this time, it poses a barrier to the country’s freedom of speech. Following the suspension of all political activities, the military government banned the media from reporting on political party activities. The High Authority for Communication (HAC) thereby released a statement formalizing the military officials’ decision. Journalist, Serge Daniel, shared this statement on X:

#Mali-Politics/Malian media (newspapers, television, etc.) now banned from covering political party activities

— Serge Daniel (@sergedanielinfo) April 11, 202


REPUBLIC OF MALI – One People, One Purpose, One Faith


Following the adoption of Decree No.2024-0230/PT-RM of April 10, 2024, suspending the activities of political parties and the political activities of associations, the High Authority for Communication (HAC) calls on all media (radio, television, print and online press) to stop broadcasting and publishing the activities of political parties and the political activities of associations.

The pof the High Authority for Communication knows he has everyone's full understanding.

These restrictions on freedom of speech were soon denounced. Media association, Maison de la Presse (Press House), reacted by rejecting the HAC’s decision. Facely Konate, journalist and member of the  Reporters Without Borders‘ Board of Directors, posted on X:

#Mali | Maison de la Presse has outright rejected the High Authority for Communication’s legally unfounded statement banning the coverage of all activities of political parties and associations.

“La Maison de la Presse…

— Facely Konaté (@FacelyKonate1) April 11, 2024

Maison de La Presse was surprised to read a High Authority for Communication press release on social media calling for the media (radio, television, print and online press) to stop broadcasting and publishing all news from political parties and political activities of associations.

After consulting with the umbrella organizations at its headquarters on April 11, 2024,  Maison de la Presse outright rejects this HAC statement lacking any legal basis.

Maison de la Press calls on the Malian media as whole to stand firm, united and committed to defending the citizens’ rights to information.

Maison de la Press reserves the right to take any action it deems necessary to ensure respect for press freedom in Mali.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also reacted. It requested that the Malian authorities overturn their decisions by immediately repealing the suspension of the activities of political parties. This is a restriction on civic space:

As tensions rise between the military junta and politicians, another crisis is emerging amid the security threat already hindering the everyday lives of Malian citizens. Even though the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) ceased operating in this country in December 2023, no region has been spared the ongoing violence and threats that terrorist groups pose.

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