Jonathan briefs Tinubu on Mali Referendum

President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu received former President Goodluck Jonathan at the Villa on Tuesday, June 13.

During the visit, the ex-President briefed him on the happenings within the West African sub-region.

Jonathan, who is the Special Envoy of the Economic Community of West African States leading its mediation mission in Mali, said he was at the State House to relay to Tinubu the outcomes of discussions with other members of the West African Elders Forum which he chairs.

As special envoy, the former President has been facilitating dialogue with major stakeholders in Mali, including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, opposition leaders, civil society and religious organisations towards resolving the socio-political crisis in the country.

Jonathan said, “I came to brief the President on the activities of some continental and subcontinental bodies.

“You know, I am the ECOWAS mediator for Mali and the Chairman of the West African Elders Forum. So, there are certain issues bordering on the continent and the sub-region that I discuss with various Presidents.”

On Sunday, June 11, members of Mali’s security forces cast their ballots during early voting ahead of the new constitution referendum slated for June 18.

On June 18, “voters will have to respond by a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ to the question: Do you approve of the draft constitution?” government spokesman, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, said.

The referendum is considered to be a major milestone in the slow process to elections promised for February 2024.

Mali’s draft Constitution strengthens the power of the President vesting the office with power to appoint the Prime Minister and ministers.

The President also has the powers to sack ministers and dissolve the parliament.

However, a section of the draft describing Mali as a secular state has sparked controversy amongst religious clerics in the predominantly Muslim state.

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