Mali – A Coup that Might Foster Corruption

Global Integrity
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On the African continent we watch time and again as boot-clad military walk through the doors of a National Assembly, a president’s bedroom or the streets of a capital city and declare ownership over the land. This classic coup d’état scenario most recently took place in Mali. Despite the fact that public administration and service reform were riddled with corrupt practices, Mali was still believed to be an exemplary, young democracy and was hailed as a relatively stable West African country that embraced democratic governance.

But in March, Mali’s quiet country was swept up in a military coup by a junta determined to replace former Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure’s government with military rule. Soldiers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo stormed the presidential palace. In their coup, they took over the state television and government military barracks. They also ousted Malian President Toure.

The Tuaregs have explained their intervention as the product of long-term neglect and discrimination against Tuaregs in the north on behalf of the government in the south, dominated by the rulers in the capital city of Bamako.[1]

Islamist militants also have stepped in, playing a role in the destabilisation of the northern reaches of the country. They seek to establish a separate Islamic state governed by Sharia law in the Northern Azawad desert.[2]

Through an agreement, Captain Sanogo stepped down, and an interim government comprised of Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra and President Dioncounde Traore currently governs. The shake-up has allowed Tuareg rebels to move in on government troops in the North and to fracture the country’s governance system in two, potentially enabling corruption to set in as opposing officials vie for support from the public (read: financial backing) and the international community.

With the potential for rapid decline of a country in the aftermath of a coup, some questions we’re asking include How might the coup foster corruption? Why does corruption occur relatively quickly after government falls? and What information supports this rapid fall? While Tuareg rebel tribesmen, Islamist rival rebels, and a junta government struggle over power, GI’s Africa team is working hard on the Africa Integrity Indicators to uncover stories about Mali’s corruption, ethnic tension, and governance after the coup.

— Erica Penfold

— Image Credit: Magharebia



[1] Afua Hirsch, The Guardian, ”Mali Junta Quits as Regional Troops Prepare to Target Tuareg Rebels,” 7 April 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/07/mali-junta-step-down-rebels

[2] Derek Henry Flood, CNN, “Islamist Militants Taking Advantage of Chaos in Mali,” June 13, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/13/world/africa/mali-chaos/index.html

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