A lot of people have been asking what it has been like coming back to Bamako in the “State of Emergency” and the recent insecurity that has found its way down to the capital. The truth is not much has changed.
Don’t get me wrong – I have some very strict guidelines on places to avoid, how to be vigilant and manage my own security. However, the “state of emergency” has not come with a whole lot of changes. The police are as active as ever and there may even be a few more running around but they are doing their standard checks, or at the very least their activities don’t implicate me very often. There is no curfew in place right now by the government or by my organization but just some strongly suggested recommendations on where to be and by when.
Technically, a state of emergency is when a government suspends normal constitutional procedures in times of danger or disaster. Basically it gives the government free reign to implement curfews, control the media to manage risk and security, and can allow for military rule (in extreme cases).
So what does a state of emergency mean in a country that struggles to maintain normal constitutional procedures? Absolutely nothing. At least for the time being. And I hope it stays that way because the risk is evaluated and seems to be at low to reasonable levels.