The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 15 July 2013

by admin on July 15, 2013

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Mali – Preparations for Presidential Elections

This week’s snapshot focuses on Mali, where official campaigning for upcoming presidential elections started on 07JUL. The elections slated to be held on 28JUL will be the first since a military coup toppled a democratically elected government in March and since a French-led intervention force began fighting alongside the Malian military against Islamist militants in the country’s north.

News Summary of events during the week of 08JUL – 14JUL

  • On 09JUL, Tiebile Drame, a prominent presidential candidate, formally requested that the election be postponed over concerns that the key city of Kidal in the north will be unable to participate. (AP)
  • On 10JUL, Romano Prodi, the UN envoy to the Sahel region, warned of a difficult election campaign in the country, highlighting in particular the problems of ensuring security and enabling refugees to vote. (AFP)
  • On 11JUL, Kidal Governor Adama Kamissoko was reinstated to the increasingly tense region, noting the priority to organize for the presidential election. (AFP)
  • On 12JUL, Kidal Governor Adama Kamissoko returned to the capital earlier than planned without providing further explanation. (AP)
  • On 12JUL, Canada announced plans to send “at least 15” observers to monitor the elections. (AFP)
  • On 13JUL, FM Tieman Coulibaly vowed the country would push ahead with the presidential vote and warned rebel groups in the north against opposing the election. (AFP)

Sample of Twitter Handles and Blogs Regarding Mali

  • @Africanelection – Election-tracking organization that covers African elections.
  • @Mali – An aggregator of news related to Mali that appears to be run by an editor of Mali’s Wikipedia page.
  • @petertinti – Freelance journalist in Mali writing/reporting on politics, culture and security in West Africa.
  • @rmaghrebi – Sahel: Northern Mali, Niger, Algeria, and Mauritania. Researching, learning, and writing about the region crisis, AQIM, its allies, and Trafficking.
  • Bridges From Bamako – Blog run by Bruce Whitehouse, who is a former Fulbright Scholar to Bamako from August 2011 – June 2012.

Sample of Third Party Validators Regarding Mali

Name Title Organization Quote News Article Date
Louise Arbour/Gilles Yabi President/West Africa Project Director International Crisis group “Mali’s forthcoming election risks being marred by such technical shortcomings, and with such a low rate of participation, that a new president could be deprived of the legitimacy necessary to lead a confused and weakened country back onto the road to stability and development.” OPINION: Mali: Election Threatens to Exchange One Crisis for Another (International Crisis Group) 09 July 2013
John Price Resident Scholar University of Utah Hinckley Institute of Politics “Free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections are paramount for Mali’s future success. Well-trained election observers will be needed to cover almost 25,000 polling stations. A flawed election will risk the loss of international financial donors — and possibly the unleashing of the Tuaregs.” OPINION: Mali elections need to be free, fair and transparent (Washington Times) 30 June 2013
Issa Ndiaye Malian university professor and political analyst “What is the point of a poll to elect someone who will not at all be representative even if he is elected by the small number of people who vote?…The vote will be legal, but it won’t be legitimate.” Mali Prepares for Election Amid Fears of Low Voter Turnout (Voice of America) 25 June 2013
Georg Klute Professor of Anthropology University of Bayreuth “Which political system do we want? Which moral basis do we claim? Do we have to have a secular state? What should a future Mali look like?” The international community could help organize this kind of dialogue. Green light for elections in Mali? (Deutsche Welle) 20 June 2013
Anouar Boukhars Nonresident Scholar Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Algeria had hoped to stay on the sidelines of the conflict in Mali, focusing on dramatically increasing its military spending, securing its own borders and containing the terrorist threat within the confines of its neighbors. But its reticence to engage Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) outside its borders has come at a high price for Algeria’s national security interests. OPINION: North Africa: Breeding Grounds for Terror (Washington Post) 28 May 2013
Bruce Riedel Senior Fellow Brookings Institution French intelligence has better insights into Tuareg and jihadi militants than their counterparts in the U.S. or the U.K. But Paris also carries a lot of baggage from the colonial era, and many Africans and Arabs resent French interference. OPINION: Al Qaeda’s Dangerous Play in Mali (Daily Beast) 15 January 2013

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG Analysts related to the upcoming Malian elections and international presence in the country

1. Mali minister vows election will go ahead, warns opponents

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 13 July 2013

PARIS, July 13, 2013 (AFP) – Mali’s Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly vowed on Saturday that the country would push ahead with a presidential vote this month and warned rebel groups in the north against opposing the election.

On a visit to Paris, Coulibaly told AFP that Mali would be able to hold a “credible and transparent” vote on July 28, despite widespread scepticism about the country’s ability to stage the election.

The first-round presidential vote is seen as crucial to reuniting deeply divided Mali after an 18-month political crisis that saw French forces intervene to push out Islamist rebels who had seized the country’s north.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130713/mali-minister-vows-election-will-go-ahead-warns-opponents

END

2. UN will support Mali elections on July 28

Media: Associated Press
Byline: N/A
Date: 10 July 2013

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations is supporting the organization of elections in Mali on July 28 which will now take place throughout the country, including the key northern city of Kidal which was occupied by Tuareg separatists for 16 months, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said Wednesday.

Herve Ladsous told a group of reporters that the new U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali will also be helping to provide security for the presidential election.

Ladsous just returned from Mali where he attended the July 1 transfer of peacekeeping duties from a 6,200-member African-led mission to the United Nations.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.wkbn.com/2013/07/10/un-will-support-mali-elections-on-july-28/

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3. President Campaigns Intensifies ahead of 28 July Poll

Media: African Elections Project
Byline: N/A
Date: 13 July 2013

The 28 Candidates vying for the presidential seat in Mali have intensified their campaign last Sunday ahead of the presidential elections slated to take place on the 28 of July 2013.

The candidates, 27 men includes past premiers Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Cheick Modibo Diarra, Modibo Sidibe and Soumana Sacko and a woman Haider Aichata Cisse, a legislator for a constituency near the northern city of Gao.

The candidates are campaigning on the message of peace, rebuilding the country and ensuring security and development for the country which is in transition since the coup in March last year which ousted the democratically-elected president, just months before he was due to step down at the end of his final term in office.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.africanelections.org/new_news.php?nid=787

END

4. Mali’s rush to post-war election raises fears of further strife

Media: Reuters
Byline: David Lewis and Adama Diarra
Date: 12 July 2013

DAKAR/GAO, Mali (Reuters) – Mali’s presidential hopefuls kicked off campaigning this week for a July 28 election intended to draw a line under a coup and an Islamist uprising, despite concerns that a rushed poll may sow the seeds of future strife.

France, which sent 3,000 troops to Mali in January to halt an offensive by al Qaeda-linked Islamists, has pressed hard for a July poll, eager to see an elected government in place to negotiate with Tuareg rebels in the north and to reform a dysfunctional state that imploded last year.

From Mali’s northern desert to its leafy southern riverside towns, the candidates promised voters a stronger army, an end to graft and poverty and the reconciliation of a divided nation as they doled out T-shirts at rallies and houses, from mini-buses and under mango trees emblazoned with posters.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-mali-election-idUSBRE96B0G42013071

END

5. Mali presidential candidate asks for poll delay

Media: Associated Press
Byline: N/A
Date: 09 July 2013

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A prominent presidential candidate in Mali has formally requested that an election scheduled on July 28 be postponed over concerns that a key city in the north will be unable to participate.

Tiebile Drame, a former minister who represented Mali in talks with Tuareg separatists last month, said Tuesday that even though the separatists have agreed to allow Mali’s army to return to the northern city of Kidal, it would be impossible to organize a vote there in time.

In a four-page document submitted to the Constitutional Court, Drame said this problem would violate Kidal residents’ constitutional right to participate in the election.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.newsdaily.com/africa/ae737a671521dc9bdd471ac5afe12580/mali-presidential-candidate-asks-for-poll-delay

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6. EDITORIAL: Mali shouldn’t rush its elections

Media: Washington Post
Byline: Editorial Board
Date: 08 July 2013

DON’T LOOK now, but the most recent Muslim country to experience a Western military intervention is confounding the pessimists — including a few in the Obama administration. Over the weekend, the north African state of Mali lifted a state of emergency so that three dozen candidates could begin campaigning in a presidential election scheduled for later this month. This came just six months after France deployed troops to prevent the takeover of the country by Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda. Since then, the extremists have been routed and dispersed, a peace accord reached with a separatist movement and a U.N. peacekeeping force launched.

To continue reading, please visit: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-08/opinions/40441829_1_kidal-tuareg-islamic-militants

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