Tribune. For the past three years, the Sahel-West Africa program of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) has been carrying out perception surveys among a representative sample of 1,800 households in fifteen circles (120 villages) in the two central regions of the Mali, Ségou and Mopti.
Malian researchers, who know the areas and speak the local languages, administer questionnaires to target populations, lead discussion groups and, through their presence and their observations, “tell” us about the field. Thanks to European funding, these surveys aim to understand the real functioning of the State and the daily life of the populations. Above all, they have enabled us to measure how much the situation is deteriorating.
Far from the political upheavals of the capital, the inhabitants of central Mali are trapped between the violence of armed groups and a State which, despite the strong support of the international community and the presence of international military operations, is very weakened by corruption and bad governance. The lasting establishment of groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) or the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) today represents a vital threat to the authorities, exacerbating old conflicts and affecting social cohesion, with appalling consequences for civilian populations.
The Malian state is above all an urban state. Cities concentrate most of the services and resemble more or less secure bubbles in the middle of vast rural areas plagued by growing insecurity. The further one moves away from urban centers, the more the territorial network of basic services is unequal and of low quality.
Increasingly isolated rural areas
In January 2021, half of the prefects and sub-prefects were absent from the Mopti region, against one in three in the Ségou region. And the greater the insecurity in the area, the more the populations express their dissatisfaction with the representatives of the State: one in two interviewees expressed dissatisfaction with these actors in the region of Mopti, against one in three in the region. from Ségou.
On the contrary, 85.8% of the inhabitants questioned say they trust the village and district chiefs, 78.8% the customary chiefs and 88.1% the religious leaders. If, because of insecurity, some mayors reside in the administrative centers and do not travel to their municipalities and villages until the day of the fair, they still benefit from the confidence of households at 61.9% (against 10.4% who say they don’t trust them). On the other hand, respondents are only 16.4% to lend credence to deputies and political parties and 26.8% to judges and magistrates.
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