Research paper No. 132 - 2022

Mali kura, Mali fanga : the political trajectory of Mali under military rule.


How did military dominance come about in Mali following the coups of 2020 and 2021? What shifts has the situation brought about in terms of civil-military relations? What effects have these political changes had on the economies of violence in the Sahel region? Beyond the reality of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta’s regime, we are seeing the results of the nation’s disillusionment at play, following the unfulfilled promises of the post-1991 democratic opening. Ten years after the 2012 coup, the rule of violence has been sustained by (counter)insurgency logics and has since escalated. This state of affairs helps us understand the population’s support for the coups in 2020 and 2021, based on the nation’s desire for a Mali Kura, a new Mali. The Mali Fanga, a war-waging narrative upheld by the military transitional government and which is presumed effective, explains the rationale underlying Mali’s response to its various crises. The current results of this approach boil down to the strengthening of authoritarianism, an exacerbation of the economies of violence and a strategic shift that counts on the unpopularity of France’s presence in the Sahel. After being waged for ten years, the “war on terror” in the Sahel region has had lasting effects and has only worsened the rule of violence. In a context marked by one-upmanship, the Malian transitional government and its martial approach are receiving support from Wagner, a Russian private military company. Thus, Mali’s current trajectory raises questions concerning the country’s socio-political order, the future of conflict resolution and the configuration of power in the long run.

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