Friday, May 03, 2013

KIDAL again…

It has now become virtually impossible to meet with friends for a drink, to have a dinner conversation, to travel on a bus or to spend more than five minutes in the company of Malians  without arriving at the thorny subject  of Kidal. It is the one preoccupying thought for the whole nation, causing distress and feelings of confusion about Mali’s relationship with France which so recently had been powerfully healed and enhanced by the French intervention and Francois Holland’s promise to stand by the Malian nation until the entire territory had been regained.   The French were hailed as great heroes and tricolors were once more flying on the streets of Mali. Some Malians are now beginning to remove their tricolors because of what is seen by many as France’s betrayal in their attitude to Kidal.

On the 30th April  there was an interesting display of working democracy in Bamako. At the Assemblée Nationale  the deputies , put in place  at the last local elections under ATT and  representing all corners of Mali, had the opportunity of asking questions to a group of ministers from the interim government including the ministers of Defense, Interior and  Finance. The whole debate was televised and ran from 9h in the morning until 21h at night.
The two burning questions were: 1. clarification on the situation of Kidal and  2. the feasibility of elections in July. These two questions are linked of course: the elections which have been insisted upon by the French and the entire international community should be held by all the people of Mali, including the town of Kidal. But meanwhile it appears that the French and Chadian troops are patrolling the town of Kidal together with the MNLA . Once again it is perhaps useful to reflect on the fact that the MNLA is a group of rebels who holds no mandate from the Touareg people. On the other hand   there were around ten democratically elected Touareg representatives from locations in the north including Kidal present and voting for their communities at this meeting of the National Assembly.

The defense minister Yamoussa Camara once more performed the diplomatic feat of speaking  about Kidal without exactly spelling out the situation, which still remains vague. We still do not know if the absence of the Malian army in Kidal is because they have orders from the French to keep out, or because they are not ready to go. The MNLA that remains in Kidal are not many, but they refuse steadfastly to lay down their guns. The defense minister did however state that the Malian army will be in Kidal within two weeks. Yesterday a new Governor of Kidal was announced. Whatever will happen is going to happen quite soon…
The resolution that was voted unanimously by the assembly at the end of the long day stated that elections will be held in July in the entire territory of Mali.  The condition for the elections to be held is therefore the liberation of Kidal and its restoration into the Malian state.

So what do people think will happen next?  Some are of the opinion that the arrival of the Malian Army and administration in Kidal will go ahead without a fight. The MNLA will lay down their weapons.  Some are wondering who will fight on what side if there is a fight. Will the French step aside and let the Malians’ sort out what they perceive, perhaps, as their internal problems themselves? They will probably not intervene. What will the Chadians do? Surely they would fight on the side of the Malian army? Perhaps they will also remain on the sidelines?
It is very hazy...What is going to happen?


Blogger Gilliane said...

Sophie, no one knows what will happen, but my positive thoughts are with you in this uncertain time.
I think a dose of Agatha Christie in the form of Hercule Poirot may be calming for you in these troubling times,
If YouTube works. LOVE, Gilliane

8:11 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Ah, Hercule Poirot! Of course, that is the answer.
Thank you darling Gilliane xxx.
You Tube?? You Mad??? This is Heart of Africa with matching internet connection!

10:11 PM  

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