Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has announced his dissolution of the African nation’s constitutional court in an attempt to calm the ongoing civil unrest that has recently enveloped the country.
In a televised address Saturday, Keita declared, “I have decided to repeal the licenses of the remaining members of the constitutional court.” He went on to add, “This de facto dissolution of the court will enable us, from next week, to ask relevant authorities to nominate new members so that the reformed court can quickly help us find solutions to the disputes arising from the legislative elections.”
In recent weeks thousands of protesters have taken to the streets demanding the resignation of Keita after hotly contested election results. The protesters accuse Keita’s administration of failing to address systemic issues with Mali, including the nation’s northern jihadist conflict, economic decline and widespread government corruption. However, the anti-government movement was initially sparked by the constitutional court’s decision to overturn the provisional results of 30 seats within the nation’s parliamentary election, which ultimately resulted in Keita’s party maintaining a majority they otherwise would have lost.
This move spurred the creation of the new June 5 Movement (5M), an opposition coalition that is led by the influential imam Mahmoud Dicko. Dicko is a popular conservative figure within Mali who last year successfully organized protests that resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Soumeylou Maïga over the government’s failure to prevent the Ogossagou massacre.
In the last few days, the protests have escalated in size and intensity, resulting in the deaths of at least four people in demonstrations on Friday and another four on Saturday. The growing unrest has also been fueled by allegations from opposition members that government security forces have arrested and detained several prominent opposition leaders and ransacked the opposition headquarters. Dicko has also urged calm despite the rising tensions in the hope of negotiating with the government.