Spread the love

Faith Nyasuguta 

Mali has removed French as its official language, a move that comes more than six decades after the nation gained independence. The decision is contained in the West African country’s new constitution, adopted on Saturday.

Under the new constitution passed overwhelmingly with 96.91% of the vote in a June 18 referendum, French is no longer the official language.

From now on, French will be the working language and the 13 national languages spoken in the country will also receive official language status. 

Around 70 local languages are spoken in the country and some of them, including Bambara, Bobo, Dogon and Minianka, were granted national language status under a 1982 decree.

On Saturday, Mali’s junta leader Col. Assimi Goita put the country’s new constitution into effect, marking the beginning of the Fourth Republic in the West African nation, according to the presidency.

Since taking power in an August 2020 coup, Mali’s military has maintained that the constitution would be critical to rebuilding the country. Mali witnessed two subsequent coups in recent years, one in August 2020 and the other in May 2021.

The junta had initially promised to hold elections in February 2022 but later delayed them to February 2024.

Relations between Paris and Bamako have deteriorated in recent years, as anti-French sentiment has grown across France’s former West African colonies as a result of claims of military failures against jihadists and political interference.

France withdrew its last troops from Mali in August, ending a nine-year military operation in the country to fight armed groups.

Late last year, the military government ordered all NGOs, including aid groups funded by France, to cease operations in the country. The action was taken in reaction to Paris’ decision to halt development aid to Bamako over alleged concerns about Mali’s cooperation with the Wagner Russian private military company.


About Author

Faith Nyasuguta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *