Terrorism-hit Mali needs about 80 million euros (about R800 million) to ‘effectively’ organise presidential elections, according from reports Brussels, the European Union headquarters.
Donations – or promises to contribute to this amount – are pouring in thick and fast, with Africa’s biggest oil producer Nigeria pledging to give 1.55 million euros to support the embattled West African nation’s free and fair elections, according to news reports from Lagos.
With the presidential electiions set for 28 July 2013, some observers are wondering if these elections will be feasible, let alone, free and fair, due to the complexity of the situation still surrounding the country.
UN envoy to the Sahel region Romano Prodi also expressed his concern at a donors’ conference held recently in Brussels, saying that the timeframe set was difficult but still possible for credible elections.
The Malian government is yet to begin negotiate with the MNLA, an armed and secessionist group that still occupies the region of Kidal.
But the government of interim president Dioncounda Traoré continues to play down the Kidal and timeframe issue, urging partners and friends of Mali to help the country organise the highly-publicised elections, saying it was important for the re-establishment of democracy and stability in the country.
The so-called Friends of Mali who gathered in Brussels last week at the European Union-led conference said the West African country will get a whopping 3 billion euros in aid (nearly R30 billion), but on condition that the transitional government performs a couple of democratic and social reforms, which include tasks the organisation of free and fair elections at the end of July and oversight of a national reconciliation that will ultimately bring peace and stability to the once calm nation.
“We need transparency and good governance,” French President François Hollande said last week. The EU said 520 million euros of this money will given this year, and France, the former colonial power, said it will contribute about 280 million euros.
However, many wonder whether crisis-hit Europeans will be able to fulfill their promises as history still has records of their failure to deliver in the past. Many believe the west’s ‘promoses and lies’ have led African leaders to mistrust Europeans and therefore look to the East towards communist China for a shoulder to cry on.