Barely a week after he stepped down from the National Transitional Council set up by the military junta, music legend Salif Keita has been appointed to the position of special adviser to the head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goita.
This was announced in a decree on Monday but did not say the exact role the 73-year-old will be playing in his new portfolio. The Afropop star resigned from the assembly set up to act as a legislative body, citing personal reasons. He is now part of a list of five appointees designated as special advisers to the head of the Malian junta.
Keita has been noted for his strong political views, and recently took it a notch higher by throwing his weight behind the military leaders who emerged on the political scene in 2020. Keita is a Malian singer and songwriter and is highly regarded as the ‘Golden Voice of Africa’. He hails from the Keita Royal family. In 1977, Guinean President, Sekou Toure, bestowed on him the National Order of Guinea, the highest award of the land. Keita has long been interested in the governance of his country.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to many when he openly made known his support for the military intervention in Mali showing support for the government’s sovereignty, according to the BBC. He recently called for the removal of UN peacekeepers after the United Nations Security Council announced their presence. Despite this, he recently stepped down from a military assembly that replaced a legislative body. This context adds depth to his recent appointment as an artist.
He submitted his resignation from the National Transitional Council, effective July 31, 2023, but emphasized his continued support for the country’s soldiers.
Mali has faced a complex crisis since 2012, including jihadist expansion and violence that extended from the north to the center of the country, as well as neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. In Niger, a recent military coup occurred, with President Mohamed Bazoum still being held by the coup leaders over two weeks after their takeover.