Cyril Ramaphosa

Image via: Flickr/GCIS

Mali unrest: Ramaphosa calls for release of president and prime minister

According to reports, the president, prime minister and other government officials were detained by the military in Mali following a coup.

Cyril Ramaphosa

Image via: Flickr/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the military in Mali to release its President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, its Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, ministers and other government officials from detention. 

According to AFP, rebel soldiers detained Keita and Cisse on Tuesday afternoon and drove them to a military base in the town of Kati, which they had seized. 

Ramaphosa, concerned with the developments in the Republic of Mali which ultimately led to the forced resignation of the president, condemned the unconstitutional change of government in the republic.  


Ramaphosa, as Chair of the African Union, has called for an immediate return to civilian rule and for the military to return to their barracks. 

Ramaphosa is urging the people of Mali, political parties and civil society, to observe the rule of law and engage in peaceful dialogue in order to resolve their challenges.

“H.E. President Ramaphosa further urged African leaders and the entire international community to denounce and reject the military-led unconstitutional change of government and to assist the people of Mali to return to civilian and democratic rule,” the presidency said in a statement on Wednesday 19 August. 


According to Keita, he had no choice but to resign. Following the coup and his subsequent arrest, he declared the dissolution of the government and national assembly. According to AFP, these were his words; 

“If it pleased certain elements of our military to decide this should end with their intervention, do I really have a choice?” he said of the day’s events.

“(I must) submit to it, because I don’t want any bloodshed.”


While Ramaphosa demands the Malian military to observe the rule of law, he has a lot on his plate too. South Africa is just a few hours into lockdown Level 2, which has meant a major reopening of the economy. Cigarettes, alcohol, inter-provincial travel and most recently, tourist attractions are now permitted.

How the move, approved by Ramaphosa will play out in terms of COVID-19 infections, we can’t be sure at this stage.

The African National Congress (ANC) is now also under fire yet again for the redeployment of former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede.

Although she has been accused of corruption and fraud regarding Durban Solid Waste (DSW), she was on Wednesday 19 August, sworn into the KZN legislature to handle the Cogta portfolio. Ramaphosa will surely have to provide answers to those who need it, especially after vowing to rid the nation of corruption.