Mali’s justice minister resigned late Monday following the acquittal of a popular radio presenter and activist who alleged that the president and top military leaders were failing to keep the country secure.
No official reason was given for Mamadou Ismael Konate’s abrupt departure from the government, but a source close to the minister told AFP his decision was “related to the Ras Bath case”.
Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, alias Ras Bath, himself a minister’s son, regularly broadcast tirades against the administration of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita until his arrest in August 2016. News of Bathily’s detention led to protests on the streets of the Malian capital Bamako, and one person was killed and dozens injured in the ensuing violence, which also caused widespread damage.
He was cleared of all charges Monday following months of legal wrangling after being sentenced while out of the country to a year in prison for “inciting troop disobedience”, a decision overturned on appeal on Monday. Bathily, who as well as being a radio presenter is a major figure in the country’s opposition, had accused Keita of being unable to manage the Malian army, and also sharply criticized several senior military figures on his show. Konate will be replaced by Hamidou Younoussa Maiga, a lawyer, according to a decree read out on Malian television.