Mali: The Church advocates dialogue

Secretary-General of the Episcopal Conference of Mali, Fr. Alexandre Denou has said the answer to Mali’s political crisis is to be found in dialogue.

Mali’s military Coup leaders appeared Thursday to be pushing ahead with plans to install what they said would be a transitional president from either civil society or the military.

In the meantime, West Africa’s regional bloc, ECOWAS, said that it would immediately send a delegation to Mali to persuade the military to reinstate President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, as president. Keïta was forced out of office by a group of soldiers on Tuesday.

Coup d’états do not usually advance democracy

“In general, seizing power by force does not advance democracy. And Mali has been facing a security crisis for several years now. It is not certain that this situation will necessarily move the country forward. The military who have taken power are the same ones we are relying upon to improve the country’ security,” Fr. Denou told Vatican News’ French Africa Service.

The international community, regional bodies, and the African Union (AU) have all condemned Mali’s Coup.

Asked what he made of the jubilant crowds seen in Mali, the Secretary-General said the Coup d’état surprised everyone.

“Yes, we saw that some demonstrators were happy and supported the soldiers. We will have to wait a little longer. Only time will tell how things will unfold,” said Fr. Denou.

Dialogue is what we need the most

Responding to criticism about the Catholic Church’ silence in the face of the unfolding political crisis, Fr. Denou said the Catholic Church has been working with other denominations to have a united position.

“From the start, the Church has worked hard. We united with other religious denominations to have a common voice. The Church has not issued statements, but we have been active during the last few weeks of crisis. The Church has always advocated dialogue, asking that the different parties agree to come to some form of compromise and sit at the same table to chart the way forward. Our mission is spiritual, and where possible, we play a mediating role. However, it is the politicians, the political actors themselves, who must come to an understanding and find consensus among themselves. Once this is done, the Church can accompany them through counselling and prayers. Even as things stand now, we are praying for the country. We are urging prayers, novenas and fasting so that Mali can find peace as well as reconciliation,” explained Fr. Denou.

Mali at the crossroads

Political observers fear that if the state and public institutions collapse, the consequences for Mali and its regional neighbours would be terrible. The fight against Jihadists would have been dealt a severe blow.


Vatican News English Africa Service

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