Mahmoud Dicko: Mali imam challenges President Keïta,

Corruption and cronyism, weak public services and national leadership, electoral malpractice and the government’s inability to bring an end to inter-communal and jihadist violence have fuelled popular frustration.

Opposition political parties have joined together to organise demonstrations, but theirs has not been the decisive voice that has repeatedly brought tens of thousands out on to the streets in a display of public anger unprecedented for decades – and which has now forced Mr Keïta and his ministers to negotiate. The real mobiliser – the figure who wields the critical crowd pulling power – is an imam, Mahmoud Dicko. […]

And his nationalist sentiments show through when he accuses France of ambitions to re-colonise his country. In that he is like many compatriots – delighted to be rescued back in 2013 but now tiring of a French military operation that has still not managed to shut down the jihadist armed groups. Today it is this populist appeal that makes him such an influential player in the current political crisis. […]

He has been involved in attempts to develop a new dialogue with Ag Ghaly and other jihadist leaders still pursuing the armed struggle, an avenue that Mr Keïta is also attempting to pursue. Läs artikel