Almost the entire membership of the transition government in Mali has been named in the list of individuals slammed with sanctions by the regional grouping Ecowas.
The list, made public on Wednesday via an Ecowas communique, named 149 people, among them the 121 officials who constitute the National Transitional Council. They also include 21 ministers, including Interim Prime Minister Choguel Maiga.
Only coup leader and transition president, Colonel Assimi Goita, and Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop were not included on the list.
The sanctions entail freezing of the financial assets of the individuals and travel ban. The men, women, and their family members are forbidden from traveling within the Ecowas region.
Analysts say the president and foreign minister were excluded from the list in order to keep a line of communication with the regional block on the fate of the country.
Ecowas has been pressing the Malian junta to hand over power to a civilian administration after two coups since last year.
The bloc ordered the military to conduct elections and hand over power by early next year. But the Malian authorities say the time frame is not tenable.
Ecowas had threatened to impose sanctions on all those participating in efforts to frustrate the transition process.
The standup with the regional bloc started with the overthrow of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020.
In the face of the threat of sanctions, the junta set up a transition administration led by a civilian president. About 10 months later, Goita staged a second coup, removing the civilian leadership after accusing them of violating the transition charter. Since then, the 38-year-old Colonel has been in charge as interim president.
Current Prime Minister Maiga was appointed as part of efforts to garner the public’s support for the junta.
The elections were initially slated for February 27, as per the Ecowas timetable. But according to the Ecowas Commission, the Malian junta has officially informed Ghana’s president and Ecowas chairman Nana Akufo-Addo that they could not meet the deadline.
The Malian crisis, which has been worsened by an ongoing insurgency in the north of the country, prompted a UN Security Council delegation visit last month.
Ecowas’ insistence on its timeline caused the junta to expel the bloc’s special envoy on October 26, after being declared "persona non grata".
The list comes out about two weeks after the regional leaders took the decision to sanction all the government leaders at a summit in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
That Summit on November 7 deliberated on both Mali and its neighbour Guinea, where another group of soldiers headed by Colonel Mamady Doumbou is under pressure to conduct elections in six months.
Like in Mali, the Guinean junta has also rejected the time frame imposed by the bloc.
On Thursday, Doumbouya presided over the first cabinet meeting of the 80-member National Transition Council set up as part of their own road map to civilian rule.
The Guinea junta leadership too had been slammed with similar sanctions.