Saturday, March 24, 2012

Samake (right)is the third member of my little Triumvirate that meets every Saturday at the Djenne Manuscript Library to deal with the matters arising in the project. He is a historian and the second in command at the Mission Culturelle, a local representation of the Ministry of Culture.

Samake took the position adopted by my Keita and all his friends: The forthcoming elections would simply have seen ATTs old cronies and the fat cats of the old administration take up new positions within the government, whichever party was to win. ATT had failed miserably in dealing with corruption within his government. His ex-ministers, notably Modibu Sidibé, former Prime Minister, should not have been allowed to present themselves as Presidential Candidates, instead they should have been put to trial for gross misconduct and corruption. This is now what will happen.
Ali Touré, member of the library management committee and admirer and suitor of our first researcher Ariela, (who is now stuck in Bamako unable to leave) now popped his head around the corner and joined the fray on the side of Babou Touré. ‘This miserable Coup has put us several years back again! Why not wait and see what would happen at the election! Why suspend the Constitution!’ exclaimed the excitable Ali, jumping up and down.


What happens in the wake of a Coup d’Etat? Last night rumours reached us that petrol was being sold for 2000 francs CFA a litre in Bamako. The normal price is just under 700FCFA. Keita and I jumped into our Mercedes and hurried down to the petrol station where prices had not yet risen. We filled the tank.

The banks, schools and large business are closed. The Regime has decreed that everyone must return to work on Tuesday morning. The work in the ministries will continue as usual with the ministerial secretaries taking the provisional administrative positions until the new ministers have been announced.

But throughout all this the little people continue as always, their life more or less untouched by these momentous events. The women carry their bundles of firewood to sell in Djenne every day from the bush; the food market continues as always with the local produce spread out on the ground in the market place; the talibés do their daily rounds to beg for food ; the Bozo fishermen throw their nets as usual from their slender pirogues...


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