BAMAKO: Mali’s popular opposition movement has rejected a charter for a transition government backed by the army officers who ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The military junta backed an arrangement for an 18-month transition government on Saturday, after a three-day forum with political parties and civil-society representatives.

But the June 5 Movement (M5), which took part in the talks, rejected the roadmap in a statement on Saturday night, accusing the junta of a “desire to monopolise and confiscate power”.

Key ideas discussed during the talks had been left out of the final document while others had been added in, the group said.

The talks had taken place against a backdrop of “intimidation, antidemocratic and unfair practices worthy of another era”, it added.

The coalition of opposition groups, religious leaders and civil figures was behind months of protests against Keita, which led up to his ouster and arrest in a military coup on August 18.

But the group said that ideas such as the broad support for a civilian transition president had not been reflected in the final document.

The committee overseeing the talks that adopted the final version of the charter by acclamation on Saturday, was chosen by the junta.

Under the terms of the final document, either a civilian or a military officer can become transition president, the committee’s rapporteur Moussa Camara told delegates.Commander Baba Cisse, from the junta, said that the final text would not be made available on Sunday, and offered no further details.

As the forum came to a close on Saturday, leading M5 member Sy Kadiatou Sow said the final version of the charter had been “butchered”. “This is not democratic at all,” he said.

On Sunday, Sidebe Dedeou Ousmane, a union leader and M5 member, said that none of the ideas discussed at her workshop had been included in the final report.

But Moussa Mara, a former prime minister, on Sunday defended the charter and urged “all Malians” to commit to the transition.

“The documents produced are not perfect, but they are a basis for starting the transition period,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2020