Mali’s Interim Government: Retired Col. Bah N’Daw sworn in as President

Mali’s Interim Government: Retired Col. Bah N’Daw sworn in as President

Saturday, September 26, 2020 12:29 am

Mali junta leader and new transition vice president Col. Assimi Goita (L) with the new transition president, former defense minister Bah N’Daw (C), and Col. Malick Diaw (R) of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) pose for a photograph during a meeting with Economic Community Of West Africa (ECOWAS) in Bamako, Mali, Sept. 24, 2020. (EPA Photo)


-And The Man, N’Daw

Retired Col. Bah N’Daw was sworn in Friday, 25 September, 2020, as Mali’s interim president, tasked with presiding over an 18-month transition back to civilian rule following the Aug. 18 military coup.

A committee appointed by the military junta that seized power on Aug. 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, according to a report by, chose retired Col. N’Daw as interim president. Junta leader Col. Assimi Goita was sworn in as the vice president of the transition during a ceremony in Bamako.

The report has it further: “Malian officials hope the inauguration of N’Daw, a 70-year-old former defense minister, will lead to the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by Mali’s West African neighbors after Keita’s overthrow.

The nomination of a figure with strong links to the army raises questions over the country’s return to civilian rule. According to a junta-backed road map on restoring civilian rule, the transitional president is meant to rule for no more than 18 months before staging national elections. The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has insisted that both the president and vice president of the interim government must be civilians.

Amid waning hopes of restoring democracy after the coup, mediators from ECOWAS reached an agreement on certain points with the military junta, although some outstanding issues remaining. During the negotiation talks in late August, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) led by Col. Goita agreed that deposed President Keita should return to his home or go abroad for medical treatment in a country of his choice. The junta also proposed a three-year military-led transitional period before elections are held for civilian rule. Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, who was held with Keita at a military base outside the capital where the coup began, would be moved to a secure residence in the city during this time.”


The Man, N’Daw

Born on 23 August 1950, Bah Ndaw (alternatively spelled N’Daw or N’Daou) is a Malian military officer and politician. He has served as President of Mali since 25 September 2020. Between May 2014 and January 2015 he was Minister of Defense.
According to various writings on him, aggregated by wikipedia, he joined the Malian Armed Forces as a volunteer in 1973 and graduated from the l’École militaire interarmes (EMIA) in Koulikoro the same year. In 1974 he was sent to the Soviet Union to receive helicopter training.

“In 1977 Ndaw became part of the Malian Air Force. At one point Ndaw served as an aide-de-camp to Malian President Moussa Traoré. In 1994 he graduated from the École de guerre in Paris, France. He held positions of chief of staff of the Malian Air Force and deputy chief of staff of the Malian National Guard. From 2008 until his retirement in 2012 he was head of the Bureau for veteran’s affairs and war victims. He retired with the rank of Colonel-major.

On 28 May 2014, Ndaw succeeded Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga as Minister of Defense under President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. During his time in office he signed a defense agreement with France. He also worked on a reorganization of the Malian Armed Forces. He left office in January 2015 supposedly for disagreeing with some conditions regarding the integration of deserting former combatants stipulated for the Treaty of Algiers (2015) (fr).

After the 2020 Malian coup d’état, on 21 September 2020 Ndaw was named president by a group of 17 electors, with Assimi Goïta being appointed vice president. Their interim government is scheduled to preside over a period of 18 months after the 2020 Malian coup d’état. A spokesperson for political-religious leader Mahmoud Dicko praised his nomination as President. Leaders of the M5-RFP, active since the 2020 Malian protests also signalled support.
After officially assuming office Ndaw stated he would fight against corruption, electoral fraud and to respect previously made international agreements. He also indicated that he would continue the fight against terrorist forces and prevent abuse of civilians by the Malian armed forces. Following Ndaw’s inauguration, Jean-Claude Brou the President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, stated that ECOWAS would only lift the embargo against Mali if a civilian Prime Minister was appointed by Ndaw.”

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