Biography of Moussa TRAORéMali > Politics : Moussa TRAORé
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Born on 25/09/1936 (format : day/month/year)
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Moussa Traoré (b. 25 September 1936) is a Malian soldier and politician. He served as President of Mali from 1968 to 1991.
Born in Kayes, he studied at Kita and at the military academy in Fréjus, France. He returned to Mali in at its independence in 1960. He became second lieutenant in 1961, and lieutenant in 1963. He went to Tanganyika (now Tanzania) as military instructor to its liberation movements. He then became instructor at the École militaire interarmes in Kati.
In 19 November 1968 he took part in the coup d'état which deposed President Modibo Keïta. He became head of the Comité militaire de libération nationale, which made him head of state and president. All political activity was banned. A police state was run by Captain Tiécoro Bagayoko. Informers monitored academics and teachers, mostly hostile to the military rule. The socialist economic policies of Modibo Keïta were partially dropped. In 1972-1973, a major drought hit Mali. International aid money was corruptly appropriated. In 1974, he issued a changed constitution for a second republic, which was inaugurated in 1978.
In 1977 ex-president Modibo Keïta died in detention, in suspicious circumstances. His funeral was well attended. The regime reacted strongly, and made violent arrests. On 28 February 1978, Moussa Traoré had arrested both Tiécoro Bagayoko and Kissima Doukara, defence and security minister, on accusations of plotting a coup. In trying to move to more open politics, he appointed the historian Alpha Oumar Konaré as arts minister. In 1979, he created the UDPM (Union Démocratique du Peuple Malien), a single permitted political party; also the Union Nationale des Femmes du Mali and Union Nationale des Jeunes du Mali, compulsory organisations for women and young people. In 1980, student demonstrations were broken up, and their leader Abdoul Karim Camara ("Cabral") died from torture. In 1982, he was made commander-in-chief. Traoré was chairman of the Organization of African Unity from May 1988 to July 1989. The UDPM-controlled legislature amended the constitution in 1985 to remove limits on the length of time a president could hold office--effectively making Traoré president for life.
In 1990, the Congrès National d’Initiative démocratique (CNID) was set up by the lawyer Mountaga Tall, and the Alliance pour la démocratie au Mali (ADEMA) by Abdramane Baba. These with the Association des élèves et étudiants du Mali (AEEM) and the Association Malienne des Droits de l'Homme (AMDH) aimed to contest Moussa Traoré's rule, with a plural political life. On 22 March 1991 a popular rising was put down violently. Four days later a military coup deposed Traoré. The Comité de Transition pour le Salut du Peuple was set up, headed by General Amadou Toumani Touré.
In 1992, Traoré was condemned to death for "political crimes". He was once more condemned to death in 1999, with his wife Mariam Traoré, for "economic crimes": the embezzling of hundreds of millions of CFA francs. President Alpha Oumar Konaré commuted these sentences to life imprisonment. On 29 May 2002, he further pardoned the couple, for the sake of national reconciliation.
Traoré's supporters now back the party Mouvement Patriotique pour le Renouveau (MPR).
Last update : 08/29/2010Update this page