The president of Mali, Mr Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA (IBK), has accepted the resignation of prime minister Idrissa Maiga (meaning that he was fired!) an requested a former Minister of Defense to form the next government. Mr Soumeylou Boubeye MAIGA (SBM) is the fifth PM chosen since IBK became president in Aug-Sept 2013 (he was elected in August, sworn-in in September).

Your correspondent believes this to be a good move. Idrissa was a party political operator, the campaign manager for IBK during the 2013 presidentials. SBM is a political operator of a different caliber. He was a member of the Adema party that won the first presidential and parliamentary elections back in 1992, and said to be close to both the army (he was twice Minister of Defense) and to certain militia groups in the north of Mali. SBM comes from Gao, and he knows everybody in the northern political firmament. Under the first elected president, Dr Alpha Oumar Konaré (AOK, also known to journalists as “Alpha O.K.”), SBM was head of the secret service.

When his new government was announced, we found that our old friend and ally - former Ambassador to Mali and lately MFA, His Excellency Abdoulaye DIOP (the man who created the Segou-Richmond SISTER CITY story and the beginning of VFoM - has handed over the position of Foreign Minister after many good years of work as Minister.

He deserves our thanks and congratulations.
Now that he has some more time, we hope that we may see him more often!

REMINDER: Festival Sur le Niger (Festival on the Niger takes place next month: 1-4 February 2018. This event is a kind of "sister" festival to Richmond's Folk Festival (annually in October) which began the same year. Check it out at  festivalsegou.org.