Cablegate: Youth Wing of Mali's Largest Party Elects New

DE RUEHBP #0079 0401647
R 091647Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. On January 23-24, the youth wing of the Alliance for
Democracy in Mali (ADEMA) held its third general congress in
Bamako, with 250-300 delegates in attendance. By way of
background, ADEMA is the party of former Malian President
Alpha Oumar Konare and is the largest in the National
Assembly. ADEMA leads most of the other parties (except for
the now much-diminished former majority party Rassemblement
pour le Mali) in supporting the current President Amadou
Toumani Toure.
2. The ADEMA youth congress elected Lazare Tembely as the new
president of the youth wing's 71 member Executive Board,
replacing long-time president Fakoroba Coulibaly who was
stepping down because of age. Tembely, a high school
geography teacher and communal councilor in Senou, was
elected by consensus after ADEMA's president, Dioncounda
Traore, intervened the week prior to the congress and
convinced Sidi Dagnoko, Tembely's opponent for the youth wing
presidency, to withdraw his candidacy. Dagnoko was afforded
the position of first vice president for his willingness to
withdraw his candidacy for president.
3. The congress brought to the forefront disagreements
between the youth wing and the senior leadership of the
party. For some time, the youth wing has fought for a
greater role within the party, seeking financial autonomy and
greater influence on decision making. In his speech to the
congress on January 23, party president and President of the
National Assembly Dioncounda Traore made clear the party was
unwilling to make those concessions. On the contrary, Traore
presented his view of the youth wing as nothing more than a
"school for the party" that was subordinate to the senior
leadership and answerable to its directives. Specifically,
Traore reminded his young audience that being a member of the
youth wing did not make one a member of the party, and that
the youth needed to toe the line while waiting their turn.
4. Although Traore's comments may have alienated some of the
young delegates, most appeared to understand the context of
the party president's comments. One delegate from Bankass
told the Embassy on January 24 that Traore's intervention in
the executive board election was justified because it was
essential for ADEMA to present a united front moving into the
2012 elections. Other speakers at the congress recalled the
party's fratricidal divisions in 2002 and 2007 and said the
youth's highest priority was maintaining party cohesion so
that there would be only one ADEMA candidate for the 2012
Malian presidential elections. As Traore himself told the
Congress, "History shows us that when we are united, we win.
It is only when we are divided that we lose."
5. Comment: The youth wings of Malian political parties are
important because they do most of the grassroots campaigning.
To that end, Traore,s intervention to maintain cohesion in
the youth organization is indicative of ongoing efforts to
keep the notoriously fractious party together in the run-up
to the 2012 elections. With memories of 2002 and 2007 still
lingering in their minds, most of the youth wing will likely
accept the senior leadership's strong oversight,
condescending though Traore,s speech may have been. End


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