In a development that gave a sense of heightened tension, the government of Mali, Monday, declared the Special Representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Hamidou Boly, “persona non grata” and gave him 72 hours to leave the country.
This situation, which signaled some obnoxious diplomatic development, was contained in a statement issued on Monday by the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Boly, the statement indicated, was notified of the decision of the government declaring him “persona non grata, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in view of his actions deemed incompatible with his status”.
The statement read in part: “This decision comes after several warnings addressed to the person concerned through his hierarchy”, even as the Malian government reaffirmed its “readiness to maintain dialogue” with ECOWAS and to “work together” for the success of the transition.
This Malian authorities, it was said, took the decision after a UN Security Council mission on October 23 and 24 to assess the country’s political situation, after being urged by ECOWAS to respect the deadline of 18 months of transition (from September 15, 2020) and organise the first round of legislative and presidential elections by February 27.
ECOWAS President-in-Office and President of Ghana, John Nana Akuffo-Addo, had made an official visit to Bamako on October 17 to discuss with the Malian authorities about the “evolution” of the proposed transition.
The Malian coup of August 18, 2020, had necessitated a political transition since September15, 2020 for 18 months. But lately, the transitional authorities called for the postponement of the first rounds of the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for February 27, 2022, and as a result, extended the deadline for the transitional period.