Mali: Boubou Cissé declares “to live hidden inside the country”

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At the end of the line, Boubou Cissé’s voice is whispering. “Sorry, I can’t speak too loudly. I am safe, but I am not comfortable, ”said the former Prime Minister of Mali from April 2019 to his overthrow by the army on August 18, 2020. With President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and other political and military figures, Boubou Cissé is arrested. On October 8, 2020, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (the military junta) frees him, but specifies that he must remain “at the disposal of justice for all purposes”.

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The weather, the Lausanne daily, which was able to get in touch with him, underlines that the former Prime Minister is short of breath, “as if jerky by this exhausting game of hide and seek”. Since December 24, Boubou Cissé lives stashed inside Mali. He says: “My house was visited by state security agents while I was out for an errand. They assaulted my employees to say where I was. But, when my lawyer contacted State Security to ask if I was wanted, he was told no. ”

“Maybe even a political assassination”

The former economist at the World Bank, who returned to Mali in 2013 to become in turn Minister of Industry and Mines then of Economy and Finance and finally Prime Minister, suggests that the military junta is trying to attack to his life, hence his flight. “People coming home heavily armed. […] I preferred to go to safety, ”he says, adding, however:“ If the justice system had asked to see me, I would have gone there. ”

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Regarding the judicial investigation opened against him on December 28, 2020 for “undermining state security”, Boubou Cissé considers that it is a “potential political cleansing, perhaps even a political assassination”. Especially since his five alleged “accomplices”, according to the Malian authorities, were arrested on Christmas Eve, and presented to a judge. What are they accused of? To want to destabilize the transition to constitutional normalization. A transition that should allow the return of the military to their barracks and the organization of democratic elections.

Charges of corruption

On his side, The world writes that, since his release last October, Boubou Cissé has been accused by the courts of having “occupied his free time in hatching” an enterprise to destabilize the institutions of the transition […], acts of a subversive nature tending to discredit the actions of the authorities “”. On the other hand, the fugitive assures that he devoted his few weeks of freedom only to his family, “far from any political activity”. Despite everything, the former graduate in economics from the University of Aix-Marseille has not completely abandoned his political ambitions. He does not rule out a candidate for the presidential election. “This is a possibility I haven’t thought about yet. But, whether as a candidate or not, the main thing is to ensure that we can talk to each other and find solutions together, ”he confides to the Time.

His explanations to prove his innocence

Boubou Cissé does not deny the accusations of corruption brought against the former regime, but he minimizes them: “We tried to do what we could, but it is a long process to fight effectively against this scourge”, assures he. Recall that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) gave the Malian military eighteen months to organize democratic elections. The release of the former Prime Minister as well as other political and military figures in October 2020 was one of Ecowas’ requests. She then decided to lift the sanctions that weighed on Bamako. The calm was only short-lived.

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