Gold Magnate, Tech Leader Are Outside Hopefuls in Mali’s Election
July 28, 2018 - Written by admin - Edited by
Malians are fond of this phrase, because it illustrates in two words their disappointment with their political system for the past three decades.
At the start of 2018, a young singer by the name of Boubacar Sacko, or Soldat, as he calls himself, summarized that disappointment in the song Bua ka Bla, a none-too-subtle invitation to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to step down.
“You are not capable,” he sings, “and you’re tired. It’s time for you to take a rest.”
But the song was directed at not just the president but at Mali’s entire political establishment, which is seen by critics as having failed to deliver peace, security, basic services and jobs.
While there are 24 candidates for president, only two beyond Keita and his main challenger, Soumaïla Cissé, are seen as having a chance for a victory: Aliou Boubacar Diallo, 59, and Cheikh Modibo Diarra, 66.
Both have dabbled in politics but come from the world of business, raising hopes that they could better tackle rampant corruption.
The International Monetary Fund says Mali loses 43 percent of its public investments to corruption, fraud and overinvoicing.
“As far as corruption is concerned, I will fight against impunity,” Diallo says in a campaign video. “I will also carry out a wholesale reform and modernization of our public administration. And I’ll make sure that the standard of living of our officials is improved.”
Diallo was born in Kayes, in Mali’s northwest, part of the country’s gold belt. He went to school in Bamako and then studied economics and finance in Tunisia and France.
In 2002, Diallo became the first and so far only Malian to own and run a major gold mine. Mali is Africa’s third-largest gold exporter, but the industry is run almost entirely by foreigners.
Diallo financed part of Keita’s election campaign in 2013 but has since withdrawn his support.