Wednesday, September 04, 2013

IBK sworn in

I travelled to Shropshire today on a train  through a smiling and sunny English country side. Meanwhile,  in torrential downpour in Bamako the new Malian President was sworn in:

"I swear before God and the People of Mali to preserve faithfully the Republican system; to respect and to ensure that  the Consitution and the Law is  respected; to fulfil my functions according to the interest of the Malian people; to preserve the gains of democracy; to guarantee  national unity, independence and territorial integrity."

The ceremony was conducted in the presence of the international diplomatic corps and the leaders of the departing interim government who have governed Mali in the last 18 months or so. These included Cheik Modibo Diarra, ousted in December as Interim Prime Minister. There was another dignitary present, whose invitation  also illustrates the characteristic Malian traits of forgiveness and generosity: Moussa Traore,  Mali's dictator  during 23 years (and friend of my Keita's father) not only graced the inauguration with his presence, he also enjoyed sustained applause from the crowd.  ATT however, who led the coup that overthrew Moussa Traore in 1991, was not present. It seems that he is now less popular than the dictator he overthrew.
The problem with the Malian state is that the President wields too much power. And we know what happens, don't we? 'Power corrupts, and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely' in the well worn quote of Lord Acton.
But fortunately the Malian president does not quite wield absolute power. So let's wish IBK well and let's hope and pray he will be a wise and fine president to lead Mali back on course again.
Vive IBK!
Vive le Mali!


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