Here are three takeaways:
- The speech appears to be a direct reaction to the June 5 rally in Bamako where demonstrators, the opposition, and the prominent cleric Mahmoud Dicko called for IBK to step down. In the speech, IBK acknowledges “the anger and the cries” in the country, and pledges that he will soon meet the leaders of the “June 5th Movement.”
- IBK has tasked Prime Minister Boubou Cissé (who took office in April 2019) with forming a “government of change” charged with implementing the results of the Inclusive National Dialogue of December 2019. More striking than the cabinet reshuffle, though, is the fact that Cissé is being retained – IBK has had a penchant for cycling through prime ministers quickly.
- The president laid out five priority areas: education, health, restoring confidence in (electoral) institutions, displacement and reintegration, and security.
How seriously did the June 5 protests worry the government? At a minimum, Keïta does not appear to feel that he can simply shrug the protests off. I am not sure his opponents will be satisfied, however, with this promise to implement a dialogue held six months ago – especially given that a significant portion of the opposition boycotted that dialogue and will likely oppose some of the measures coming out of it, such as a constitutional referendum. We’ll see what comes of the meeting between the June 5 leaders and the president – and we’ll see what comes of the next anti-IBK rally, planned for June 19 (French).