The new President of Mali has been inaugurated in Bamako: Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. This is the latest step on the road to a return to stability after last year’s troubles – former colonial master France intervened militarily. To prevent Islamist extremist rebels from gaining in the region, France deployed thousands of troops.
Of the 26 heads of state invited to welcome Mali’s new leader, elected by a landslide in August, French President François Hollande gave the first speech: “We celebrate this great victory together. France is proud to have contributed to it.”
Hollande was the star. He launched the military intervention in West Africa. He took four senior ministers with him for the ceremony. He was expected to discuss economic recovery and security with Keita.
President Keita said: “My path is the road that leads to Mali’s wellbeing. I will keep to it whatever the challenges.” Then he hailed a free and democratic Mali and international solidarity.”
The French intervention underscored the weakness of a democracy long undermined by corruption, nepotism and the lack of a real opposition.