Tuesday, May 5, 2015

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Agree that going back to pre-crisis Mali would be a mistake, that the democratic 'example' was a sham. But while the analysis is correct: now what? What is the alternative? If it's true that the previous gouvernement had lost all legitimacy, and elections now would probably bring back most of the same political class that brought the country to ruin, the current gouvernement doesn't have sufficient legitimacy either to put in place important changes. And mind you, given those circumstances they're doing what they can.
Problem is, the ideal option of real change and a clean slate do not exist in Mali (and I seriously doubt whether it ever exits). So what to do? The transitinal gouvernement doesn't have enough legitimacy, so elections are needed; not because then democracy will be restored - I hope nobody is that naive - but because it is the first necessary step. With elections to by organised by a gouvernment that is not participating in it, at least the argument of lack of legitimacy will be weaker than ever. And then after elections the process of building democracy wil have to continue. Yes, continue, because things were happening. One of the (many) dynamics of the so called 'Touareg issue' is in fact that feudal structures were threatened by the democratic process (decentralisation specifically).
Is it unfortunate that the same political class will come back after elections? Probably to some extent. Unfortunately the crisis has not fostered any great new names in politics. Will they try to continue their bad old ways? Probably. But things will have changed; there is a momentum of possibility. People have become less fatalistic, and the suffocating 'consensus' politics used by ATT to control the political class has lost its shine. And with more political debate, democracy will get a new impulse.
Even then, all will not be well. With a low literacy rate of less that a third of the population, a lot of work still needs to be done. It's going to be an uphill battle, but not impossible.