Mali’s new leaders were sworn into office on Friday, five weeks after Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was overthrown in a military coup.
Retired colonel and former Defence Minister, Bah Ndaw, was picked as interim president, tasked with presiding over an 18-month transition back to civilian rule.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the coup back in August, was sworn in as vice president during a ceremony in the capital, Bamako.
Seventy- year old Ndaw said in a speech he would crack down on corruption and stamp out abuses by Mali’s armed forces against civilians.
“Mali has been shaken, trampled on and humiliated by its own children, by us,” he said during the inauguration. “The transition period which begins will not dispute any international undertaking by Mali, nor the agreements signed by the government.”
Ndaw took the oath of office in front of several military officers, diplomats, political leaders and ECOWAS envoy, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Upon arrival in Bamako on Wednesday, Jonathan said he was hopeful the country will return to civilian rule soon.
“We are happy with what is happening in the Mali. The young soldiers who took power are working in the direction of the recommendations of the heads of state of ECOWAS,” he said.
Malian officials hope the inauguration will lead to the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by West African regional group, ECOWAS, that officials say have paralysed the economy. The bloc had demanded the appointment of a civilian president and prime minister, as well as the dissolution of the ruling junta.
All conditions have not yet been met. ECOWAS Commission President, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said on Friday that the sanctions “will be lifted when a civilian prime minister is named.”