EYEAFRICA TV: Bambako, MALI: The United Nations Peacekeeping mission in Mali has a very busy schedule in support of the electoral process in the country. Mali went to polls on Sunday to choose a president who will lead the West African nation to a constitutional mandate.
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) transported over 200 tons of electoral material to the northern and central regions of the country, trained and deployed 70 election officials and logistics assistants with 49 vehicles.
In line with its mandate, the MINUSMA, integrated electoral team has carried out training of stakeholders including members of electoral management bodies, civil society, political parties, and the Malian Security Forces in various fields related to the elections.
The mission soldered the deployment of election official to various polling stations of major cities in northern and central Mali.
In collaboration with the Defense Forces and Security of Mali (FDSM), the United Nations Police (UNPOL), intensified their presence with regular patrols in Mopti and surrounding areas to five hours, four times a day. Helicopters were deployed by MINUSMA to support the reinforcement exercise in the area.
Although, the oppositions to this arrangement were left with very minimal chances to operate otherwise. In the Kidal region, the village of Aguelhok and the MINUSMA camp were fired with ten impacts of mortar fire. In the region of Timbuktu the electoral material was stolen and burnt.
Malians are keenly expecting the provisional results anytime today, although final result is likely to be announced later in the week.
Incumbent candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is fighting for a second term against twenty-three challengers in the first round of the elections.
Since 2013, deadly communal clashes among ethnic groups and accusations of heavy-handed counter-terror operations have complicated his leadership image in the country. This year alone, more than 300 civilians were killed, making peace and stability an influential issue in their decision.
Ordinary citizens see the election as historic and worth their business. More than eight million voters were expected to participate in the selection of president. If no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will take place on August 12.
“Today I came to cast my ballot. Voting for your country, I believe, is an incomparable act; it has no comparison. Mali is a great country and all those who want to protect its valour must vote; so, I’m here to carry out my duty”, says Adama Bagayoko in Mali.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the election eve called on Malians to maintain a peaceful course adding that he was encouraged by a peaceful campaigning period, despite security challenges in the north and center of the country.