Mali local government administrators at the frontline of organising next month’s presidential election launched a seven-day strike on Monday demanding more security and allowances, two unions representing them said. The administrators, who hold the rank of prefects or sub-prefects, are the government’s representatives at the local level. They are in charge of organising the July 29 vote, and said the strike will last until at least July 1, after talks with the government collapsed over the weekend. “We are concerned about our safety and working conditions. We have requested benefits in accordance with regulations, but we have not been listened to,” said Olivier Traore, secretary general of one of the unions.
The strike comes against a backdrop of growing security concerns and instability ahead of the election, and could impact the organisation of the vote. France told Mali’s government on Tuesday to react strongly after at least 16 Fulani herders were killed in the latest suspected ethnic clash.
The unions are also asking for increased security protection for members’ offices and homes.
Ousmane Christian Diarra, a senior official of another union, said 54 prefects and their deputies, and 285 sub-prefects had walked out on Monday and the strike was followed by nearly 100 percent of administrators across Mali.