People across Mali expressed shock and outrage after videos of an extravagant birthday party thrown March 9 by the head of the country's intelligence services made their way online, especially in light of the country's unstable security situation.
General Moussa Diawara pulled out all the stops to celebrate his 50th birthday on March 9. A massive portrait of the general was mounted on the wall, the table overflowed with elaborate dishes, an internationally renowned musician gave a private concert and a birthday gift of a new car, festooned with a ribbon.
But when videos of the celebration made their way online, where they racked up tens of thousands of views, many members of the public were furious at the extravagance exhibited by Diawara, director general in charge of state security and a close associate of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
The United Nations recently called the security situation in Mali “very worrying.” Despite reports from both Mali and France of the death of Islamic extremist Amadou Koufa in November 2018, he seems to be in fact alive.
Many people said it was inappropriate for Mali's head of intelligence to throw such an extravagant party in light of these circumstances.
The guests enjoyed a private concert by musician Toumani Diabaté, who is considered one of the best kora players in the world, as well as popular Congolese singer Fally Ipupa.. Singer Babani Koné also performed and shared videos of the party that were viewed more than 14,000 times on Facebook Live.
It appears that no one was initially worried about keeping the party a secret, but in the video below, a person can be heard telling guests to stop filming on their phones.
In her tweets, @AshleyLelaMAIGA wrote: "And here you have it the Republic of Party Animals! #Mali, a country adrift and in the grips of a serious security crisis, where the priority of those in charge of national security is to throw indecently extravagant birthday parties." The thread continues: "As civilians and soldiers lose their lives each day in the north and centre of #Mali and millions of children aren’t going to school because of the security crisis shaking the country, those in charge of national security are partying in #Bamako."
The Malian government brought its best moves to the dance floor, and some social media users made fun of Arouna Modibo Touré, minister of digital economy and communication, who was seen showing off his choreography:
@AshleyLelaMAIGA wrote: "The government of #IBK is truly inclusive. It’s filled with all different skill sets… from the most competent ministers to the… partyers!! In this video, the minister for the digital economy @AMT_ML aka Papou National shows off his dancing talents!! #Mali"
Twitter uesr @mtly19821 wrote: "Respect for the minister’s moves, he’s an expert…"
The office of the president did not respond to a request for comment.