While running the mud hotel she built in Djenne, helping the blind to see by funding annual cataract operations and saving ancient manuscripts for the Library Project, Sophie Sarin remains the definitive source of news from Mali - Tuesday 6 August: A friend asked me to explain why I believe IBK is the correct choice for Mali, or perhaps to explain the reasons for his lead over the other candidate Soumaila Cisse.
Everything boils down to the bare essentials in this second round and what emerges are the legends and the hopes. There must be a break from the old and the candidate who is able to stir peoples' dreams will win. This is true of all elections perhaps, but never so much as in Mali right now. There is a yearning for a new Mali. This is why people who never voted came out and voted in the first round, making this the largest turn-out in Malian history.
Although IBK is the oldest of the two at 68 and has worked as a career politician in Mali all his life in high positions including being the Prime Minister under Alpha Oumar Konare, he now represents the break from the old corrupt years of the ATT government to the the Malian people. Some people believe there is actually little difference between the two candidates - there is little to divide them from an ideological stand point. They are both pro-west, and are both technically capable of high office. The difference lies in two important facts:
Soumaila Cisse and his party URD, together with the large party ADEMA belongs to what is known as the FDR, the 'Front uni pour la Sauvegarde de la Democratie et la Republique' or the 'anti-Putchists' for short. They represent for a large number of the Malian people all those who were happy to line their pockets at the people's expense and who wanted the status quo to remain.
The fact that Modibo Sidibe, another major candidate in the first round representing a party in the FDR union, has this morning announced his support for Soumaila Cisse is probably not going to do the latter's cause any favours since Sidibe, the prime minister under ATT, is the personification of greed and corruption in the eyes of a large proportion of Malians.
'Les deux GRANDS VOLEURS du Mali sont ds le meme CAMP maintenant.....' (the two great thiefs of Mali are now in the same camp) wrote a commentator on Malijet after this announcement.
Meanwhile 20 of the smaller candidates have rallied behind IBK, it was announced last night. The Cisse camp came out in a storm of protests of 'disgust', seeing in this rallying only an unseemly scramble for potential ministerial posts in a future IBK administration. Even the hapless ADEMA candidate Draman Dembele has joined the IBK camp, against his own party - probably for an impure motive along the above lines... However, what cannot be so easily explained is that the ADEMA youth movement has also rallied behind IBK!
Hmmmm.... most interesting.... I wish I could be in two places at once - Bamako on Sunday will be THE place to be, inshallah!
Vive le nouveau Mali, Vive IBK!
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