Tens of thousands of protesters demanded on Friday in Bamako that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta resign. In their head, a man of growing influence: Mahmoud Dicko, a rigorous imam, former ally of IBK.
For the second time in a month, the Malays took to the streets on Friday, June 19, to demand the departure of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, nicknamed IBK. Tens of thousands of protesters in Bamako responded to the call from the “June 5 Movement – Rally of the Patriotic Forces” (M5-RFP), named after the first mobilization date.
“The crisis is extremely serious,” said analyst Ibrahim Maïga, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Bamako, AFP. “We knew the anger was great. Today she has a face, she has a spokesperson,” to Imam Dicko’s person.
At the forefront of the M5 RFP, a heterogeneous coalition that brings together politicians, anti-corruption activists, civil society personalities and religious, we find Mahmoud Dicko, a rigorous imam. This former IBK ally is now one of the president’s most heartfelt critics, who have held the protesters responsible for the slowdown in economic growth and endurance of uncertainty ahead of particular attacks by jihadists.
“Everyone is against! Community problems, problems in the army, even between religious … (problems) between everyone … There is a malaise in the country, there is bad governance. There is open corruption. I say it and I say it again “, He diagnoses in an interview with RFI.
President of the Malian Islamic High Council
Mahmoud Dicko, 66, from a family of remarks in Timbuktu, is a well-known figure for the Malays. From January 2008 to April 2019, he chaired the High Islamic Council (HCI). An influential position in a 95% Muslim country. If the majority of the population consists of Maliki Sunni’s body, Mahmoud Dicko is a rigorous stream, inspired by Saudi Wahhabism.
This father of a dozen children, born to his two wives, gave himself a name by opposing the 2009 adoption of a new family code is particularly expected to modernize marriage, family and heritage methods in Mali. He then forced the government to adopt a text that was much less ambitious than expected, especially on women’s rights. He also recently had censorship a textbook for sex education who approached homosexuality.
Support for distrust of IBK
However, Mahmoud Dicko is not systematically in opposition. In 2013, he counted among the supporters of IBK during the 2013 presidential election. He will even be on some presidential trips, especially to the Yellowlands of which he is an expert, thanks to his education in the Korean schools in Saudi Arabia.
This teacher also places himself as a privileged intermediary with the jihadists and his knowledge of Islam and his religious rigor gives him some credit with them, while he enjoys the relative confidence of the Malian elites. In the Malian security crisis, he is the master of a dialogue with the rebels.
In April 2019, he resigned from Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga by organizing large demonstrations. This follower of a hard line and held responsible for the aggravation of the security crisis in central Mali.
A shift of the religious in the political
The Imam with the white goat creates his movement, Coordination of Movements, Associations and Sympathizers (CMAS), in September 2019. Since then, Mahmoud Dicko has become a powerful critic of power as much as he has a broad popular base in Mali with the launch of CMAS
,many have lent him political intentions, which he denies.
The charismatic preacher has brought together the protest against IBK by channeling the hardship fueled by the deaths of thousands of people killed in recent years in jihadist attacks and violence between the community, the sense of state’s powerlessness, economic downturn, the crisis in public services and schools and the notion of widespread corruption, but according to the imam, Cmas is not a party, but a movement that has equally religious “ideals”, social and political.
“Many opponents who would not have had a chance to come to power have decided to rely on the Imam and his thousands of followers and give him great political power,” analyzes researcher Aly Tounkara of Le Monde. .
President Keïta has extended his hand over the past few days to his opponents, paving the way for a “national unity” government. He also made concessions to the striking teachers and promised the salary increases they have demanded for months.
Demonstration from June 19 to #Bamako : Imam Mahmoud Dicko asked “the protesters to return home without doing violence. However, he takes ECOWAS witness and leaves the ball in their camp” pic.twitter.com/joRvreZ7zg
– Tamani Studio (@StudioTamani) June 19, 2020
But this is not enough for Mahmoud Dicko: “He did not learn the lesson, he does not listen to people. But this time he will understand,” had warned before the demonstration of vendreditout by calling for calm and violence
“I’m not someone who breaks my country or sets fire to my country,” sureat Radio France InternationaleImam Dicko, who should announce the day of a new mobilization in the coming days.