Today the news is filled with the domestic joy and international approval of a successful election as Senegalese President Wade steps down to election rival and Macky Sall. Protests sparked by Wade's re-election bid led to deaths and a real feeling of tension during the actual event and after the results were announced. However, the world breathed a sigh of relief as the president admitted defeat and graciously stepped aside leading to French President Sarkozy announcing 'Senegal is a major African country and a model of democracy.' While this is excellent news, both for Senagal and for African politics, it should not be forgotten that this euphoria of democratic success should not cover the other major African news story of the week.
The future of Mali is now in doubt as a bottom-up rebellion in the armed forces led to a successful coup against the democratically elected government after resentment built over it's handling of the uprising of Taureg militias in the North of the country. After capturing the national broadcasting station the rebels, led by Captain Amadou Sanogo, stormed the capital and presidential compound defeating loyalist troops. Today, Captain Sanogo announced that he was completely in control of the country and deplored the acts of vandalism and theft the had occured after the takeover, including by his own forces. On taking control, Sanago closed the border, suspended the constitution and promised the return of democratic elections only after the country had been secured. He has also offered peace negotiations with the Taureg forces calling them 'brothers'.
This has led to condemnation across the board. Internationally almost every major figure has criticised the actions and domestically a coalition of leading parties have come out in opposition and called for the elections due to be held in a couple of months. It is unclear whether Sanogo has the support of all the armed forces as, during the coup, he was followed by soldiers of the rank of Captain or lower.
The Mali coup represents the destruction of 20 years of democratic rule in a country that had until recently been heading for an international success story. While the AU and EU have suspended operations there, no further action action by either party or the UN has been announced as everyone waits to see what will happen next...