The race for the Malian presidency is heating up after several big stature candidates vowed to unseat President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is seeking a second five-year term.
Modibo Kone, a rural development expert at the West African Development Bank, and Hamadoun Toure, who runs the “Smart Africa” initiative to drive development on the continent via technology, said the country had suffered poor leadership and that it was time for change for the Malian people.
Toure, 64, spoke to Taarifa when he was in Kigali, Rwanda, in May during the Smart African Summit, also from where he runs the initiative.
He said he has hope he will succeed.
Toure, former secretary-general of the international telecommunications Union (ITU) , has told press that his international experience would help his country shake off its problems.
“I have a programme for Mali, and I want my country to benefit from it,” he told AFP, adding in its current trajectory the nation was “heading for disaster”.
Two other candidates, Malian army general Moussa Sinko Coulibaly and Kalifa Sanogo, the mayor of Mali’s second-largest city, Sikasso, have also announced their bids.
Meanwhile President Keita gave a go-ahead to legislative and presidential elections despite delays to regional and municipal elections in recent months over security concerns.
The state is still absent from major areas of the northern territory where in 2012 jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda mounted an insurgency on the back of a separatist uprising.
Rwandan troops and a few others under the UN mission (MINUSMA) are helping the Malian army to re-gain control of key cities from jihadists.