October 31, 2020

The challenges facing the newly elected President of Tabital Pulaaku Mali, Abou Sow

The Malian chapter of Tabital Pulaaku has just elected its new president. Abou Sow, the newly elected president will take the helm of the Fulani largest organization in Mali in a time when the Fulbe of Mali are facing many challenges in the north and central regions of the country.

In the last years, violence between communities has left many dead and thousands displaced, most of the time the victims are Fulbe. On the 23rd of March, 2019, an armed militia (Donzo) of Dogon ethnic group burned Ogossagou, a Fulbe village in central Mali and massacred all its inhabitants including children, women and elderly people. The violence is incited by accusations of grazing cattle on Donzo land and disputes over access to land and water, but the area is also troubled by the influence of armed groups, who the Fulani are wrongly accused of being tied to because of their Muslim identity.

Armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have exploited ethnic rivalries in Mali and its neighbors Burkina Faso and Niger to boost recruitment and render vast swaths of territory in the Sahel region virtually ungovernable. 

Being chapter of Tabital Pulaaku International, a nonpolitical worldwide Fulbe cultural organization, Tabital Pulaaku Mali has found its self in the forefront of these conflicts by being the voice of the Fulbe community in denouncing both the attackers and Malian government which show a sign of weakness toward the militia groups and a lack of resolve to protect the Fulbe communities from these aggressors. The outgoing president, Abdoul Aziz Diallo, was a frequent guest of the national and international media, advocating both, a peaceful resolution of the conflicts and strong response of the national army to put an end to the massacres of the civil and innocent people.

Who is the Newly Elected president of TPM?

Abou Sow is a Malian politician, born in 1953 in Gavinané ( Nioro of Sahel Region, Mali). After his elementary school in Gavinané between 1960-65, he was transferred to the lycée of Badalabougou where he finished his middle and high-school studies and obtained his baccalaureate (High-School Diploma) in modern letter series in 1972. He obtained a master’s degree in general administration and public law at the National School of administration of Mali in 1976.

Integrating the civil service, he was assigned to work in the staff of the governor of the Mopti Region, then he exercised the functions of district and district commander for several years.

In 1991, he became chief of staff to the Minister of Agriculture, then held various senior administrative positions (technical adviser to the Prime Minister, national administrator at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, head of the administration section at the ‘Support unit for national execution; chief of staff to the Prime Minister).

In January 2005, he was appointed governor of the Ségou Region. On April 9, 2009, the then President Amadou Toumani Touré appointed him Secretary of State to the Prime Minister responsible for the integrated development of the Office du Niger area in the reshuffled government of Modibo Sidibé. On April 6, 2011, he was appointed Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister, responsible for the integrated development of the Office du Niger area in the government of Prime Minister Cisse Mariam Kaïdama SIDIBE. In short, Abou Sow is a career civil servant who served his country for many years and in various capacities with different governments that lead the country for the last three decades. As a result, he has substantial knowledge of the different components of the Malian society which is well needed in order to help to ease the tension between the different ethnic groups.

What are the challenges facing the newly elected President

Although Mr. Sow is a very seasoned administrator the challenges he is facing are very different than the one a civil servant usually faces. The ethnics tensions in Mali are still very alive and the Fulbe are the target of different hostile groups. Even though Tabital Pulaaku’s main mission was to promote the Pulaar/Fulfulde language and the Fulbe culture, being the largest and most structured organization of the Fulbe in the country, Tabital Pulaaku Mali is obligated by the circumstances to get involved in the ongoing conflict resolution discussion by engaging the organizations that represent the other parties in trying to achieve an everlasting peace and harmony between the communities. However, Mr. Sow must forcefully denounce any violence committed against the innocent Fulbe and stand up to the Malian government when they fail to protect the Fulbe citizens and their livestock, notwithstanding they are his former colleagues and political friends.

Ndiaye Demba Astel

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