Here are two pieces on Mali that came across my radar last week:
Mamadou Bodian, Aurélien Tobie, and Myriam Marending, “The Challenges of Governance, Development and Security in the Central Regions of Mali,” SIPRI (.pdf). Key quote (p. 5):
State authorities are relatively absent from the regions of Mopti and Ségou in central Mali. Instead, local authorities (e.g. the mayor, village chief or neighbourhood chief ) enjoy the trust of residents (according to 69 per cent of respondents).
Basic public services (particularly security and roads) are mostly unavailable in the localities surveyed, and the management of available services does not meet local expectations.
People mainly turn to customary and religious authorities to resolve minor conflicts. Even in the case of serious crimes, custom- ary authorities remain the most common choice, ahead of state authorities such as the police. Customary justice systems are also considered more impartial than religious or state systems.
Judd Devermont and Marielle Harris, “Why Mali Needs a New Peace Deal,” Center for Strategic and International Studies. Key quote:
The Accord is a product of its time, hyper-focused on insecurity and separatism in the north of the country, which was the hotspot during the negotiations process. It did not have the foresight to outline security and development implications for Mali’s central regions, and it has failed to adjust to the evolving conflict. Indeed, the Accord’s emphasis on reconciliation only mentions the “Azawad problem,” referring to a would-be state, self-declared by Tuareg-led rebels, encompassing Mali’s northern regions. The Accord and subsequent roadmaps have remained silent on the interethnic conflict in the central regions between the nomadic Fulani (Peuhl) herders and the Dogon and Bambara farmers. While these ethnic tensions have deepened since 2015, the Accord’s lack of strategies to mitigate existing ethnic tensions in the central regions rendered the document deficient from inception. In fact, critics blame the Accord’s sole focus on northern rebels as having incentivized other minority groups to use violence to extract concessions.
The below response to the CSIS piece, from the leading Mali expert Marc-André Boisvert, was also striking (and grim):