President Muhammadu Buhari, as chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, has sent a Special Envoy to Mali to interface in the political situation in the county.
The delegation was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.
Sarah Sanda, the Special Assistant, Media to Foreign Affairs Minister, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
She said the delegation was in Mali ahead of the country parliamentary elections.
The elections had initially been slated for October 28, but they were postponed by the government to Nov. 25, followed by a further vote on Dec. 16 in constituencies where no candidate wins outright.
Last week, Mali’s constitutional court reportedly delayed the country’s parliamentary elections until 2019 by extending the mandate of lawmakers for six months.
According to Sanda, the team on arrival in Bamako met with Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General Mahamat Saleh Annadit.
The delegation, she said, met with the Representatives of the African Union and European Union, as well as Ambassadors of France and The Netherlands.
She said that the delegation also met with the main opposition leader and Presidential Candidate Soumaila Cisse, who lost to incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in a second-round runoff vote held on August 12.
The delegation, according to her, also met with Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita with some Cabinet Ministers in attendance.
She said that Onyeama delivered President Buhari message to all the stakeholders in all the meetings.
According to her, Onyeama said that Buhari as Chairman of ECOWAS called on Malian authorities to ensure “inclusivity in nation building and politics” as the country prepares for parliamentary elections.
”It has to be all about the country, people, development and good governance.
”We begin to have problems when it starts to be about individuals so he wanted us to communicate this message,” he said.
Onyeama said that Buhari’s message was very well received as they have a lot of respect for him and want him to play a role in shepherding the country forward.
“There are promising developments, which we want to see come into fruition, there is the legislative election which all agreed should be postponed as the country is not ready for it and we are happy and willing to build a consensus for it.
“There is also a constitutional reform, which everybody believes is important for the country to go forward as well as electoral reforms.
”We can see how important it is that going forward and engaging with those reforms,” he said.
According to him, there is total inclusivity – all the parties involved and all the others are involved, that is the only way of guaranteeing the ownership by the people and political actors in the country or for the country and it’s institutions going forward.
”We are also very happy that that the President Boubacar Keïta also shares the same vision of inclusivity and strong institutions,” he said.
Mr Onyeama noted that there were still trust building and consensus steps to be taken.
He said that the agreement on all sides to postpone the legislative elections and movement towards electoral reforms were positives.
He added that the main actors had a consensus about the need to undertake constitutional and electoral reforms.
“So, we have to keep supporting them to go along that line and for all the parties to be involved in the process,” he said.