By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – The Namibian Government says it condemns in the strongest possible terms the “unconstitutional changes of government” in the West African nation of Mali by the military on Tuesday, 18 August.
In a statement, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the military coup violated the principles of the African Union (AU) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance that denounce and reject unconstitutional changes of governments.
The overthrow of democratically elected President Ibraham Boubcar Keïta is contrary to the AU’s solemn commitment to silencing the guns in Africa by 2020, said Nandi-Ndaitwah, who doubles as deputy prime minister.
“The Republic of Namibia aligns itself to the statements issued by both the Chair of the African Union and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission which reaffirm the African Union principle of the total rejection of unconstitutional change of power.
In this regard, we call for an immediate restoration of democratic governance and constitutional order in the Republic of Mali and for an immediate release of all political leaders arbitrarily detained,” she said.
Namibia and Mali have enjoyed strong bilateral relations dating back to late 1990s. The two African countries first signed the Cultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement in December 1998.
President Keïta who was forced to resign, last visited Namibia in March 2016. He was the guests of honour at Namibia’s 26th independence anniversary in Windhoek.
In August 2016, Namibia hosted the inaugural session of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation with Mali.
During the joint meeting, the two countries discussed about deepening political and economic partnership in the sectors of agriculture, mining, information and communication technology, fisheries, finance, education, culture and crafts.