World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Modibo Keïta

Article Id: WHEBN0000891766
Reproduction Date:

Title: Modibo Keïta  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of heads of government of Mali, List of state leaders in 1960, Mali Federation, Alpha Oumar Konaré, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
Collection: 1915 Births, 1977 Deaths, African Socialism, Keita Family, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, Leaders Ousted by a Coup, Lenin Peace Prize Recipients, Malian Muslims, Malian Politicians, Malian Prisoners and Detainees, Members of the National Assembly of the French Fourth Republic, People from Bamako, People of French West Africa, Prisoners and Detainees of Mali, Recipients of the Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo, Sudanese Union – African Democratic Rally Politicians
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Modibo Keïta

Modibo Keita
1961 airmail stamp featuring Keïta
1st President of Mali
In office
July 20, 1960 – November 19, 1968
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Moussa Traoré
Personal details
Born (1915-06-04)June 4, 1915
Bamako, Upper Senegal and Niger (now Mali)
Died May 16, 1977(1977-05-16) (aged 61)
Bamako, Mali
Nationality Malian
Political party Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally
Religion Islam

Modibo Keïta (4 June 1915 – 16 May 1977) was the first President of Mali (1960–1968) and the Prime Minister of the Mali Federation. He espoused a form of African socialism.


  • Youth 1
  • Entering politics 2
  • Political life 3
  • President of Mali 4
  • As a Pan-Africanist 5
  • In literature 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


He was born in Bamako-Coura, a neighborhood of Bamako, which was at the time the capital of French Sudan. His family were Malian Muslims who claimed direct descent from the founders of the Mali Empire. He was educated in Bamako and at the École normale supérieure William Ponty in Dakar, where he was top of his class. Beginning in 1936, he worked as a teacher in Bamako, Sikasso and Tombouctou. His nickname after primary schooling was Modo.

Entering politics

Modibo Keïta was involved in various associations. In 1937, he was the coordinator of the art and theater group. Along with Ouezzin Coulibaly, he helped found the Union of French West African Teachers.

Keïta joined the Communist Study Groups (GEC) cell in Bamako.

In 1943, he founded the L'oeil de Kénédougou, a magazine critical of colonial rule. This led to his imprisonment for three weeks in 1946 at the Prison de la Santé in Paris.

In 1945 Keïta was a candidate for the Constituent Assembly of the French Fourth Republic, supported by GEC and the Sudanese Democratic Party. Later the same year, he and Mamadou Konaté founded the Bloc soudanais, which developed into the Sudanese Union.

Political life

In October 1946, the African Democratic Rally (RDA) was created at a conference in Bamako of delegates from across French Africa. While the coalition was led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Keïta assumed the post of RDA Secretary-General in French Sudan, and head of the Soudanese affiliate: the US-RDA. In 1948, he was elected general councilor of French Sudan. In 1956, he was elected mayor of Bamako and became a member of the National Assembly of France. He twice served as secretary of state in the governments of Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury and Félix Gaillard. Modibo Keïta was elected constituent assembly president of the Mali Federation on July 20, 1960, which consisted of French Sudan and Senegal. Senegal would later leave the federation.

President of Mali

1960s commemorative wraps with Keïta's portrait

After the collapse of the federation, the US-RDA proclaimed the Soudanese Republic's complete independence as the Republic of Mali. Keïta became its first president, and soon afterward declared the US-RDA to be the only legal party.

As a socialist, he led his country towards the progressive socialization of the economy; at first starting with agriculture and trade, then on October 1960 creating the SOMIEX (Malian Import and Export Company), which had a monopoly over the exports of the products of Mali, as well as manufactured and food imports (e.g. sugar, tea, powdered milk) and their distribution inside the country. The establishment of the Malian franc in 1962, and the difficulties of provisioning, resulted in a severe inflation and dissatisfaction of the population, particularly the peasants and the businessmen.

In June 1961, he paid a state visit to the United Kingdom, where Queen

  • Site devoted to Modibo Keita : portrait, discussion, photos, and videos.
  • Article du journal Le Flambeau Bamako, Mali.(Organe de la Jeunesse Union Africaine - Mali): Modibo Keita "Notre liberté serait un mot vide de sens si nous devions toujours dépendre financièrement de tel ou tel pays".

External links

  • Rosa De Jorio, Narratives of the Nation and Democracy in Mali. A View from Modibo Keita’s Memorial, Cahiers d'études africaines, 172, 2003.
  • page on the French National Assembly website

Modibo Kéita: MALI. Francis Kpatindé, Jeune Afrique, 25 April 2000.

  • Portions of this article were translated from the French language WorldHeritage article Modibo Keïta.
  • Biographie.
  • "Modibo Keita." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 06 Oct. 2008.
  • The Big Read : Modibo Keïta: A devoted pan-africanist, The Daily Observer (Gambia), Friday September 5, 2008.
  • Francis G. Snyder. The Political Thought of Modibo Keita. The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1 (May, 1967), pp. 79–106
  • John N. Hazard. Mali's Socialism and the Soviet Legal Model. The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 77, No. 1 (Nov., 1967), pp. 28–69
  • Modibo Keita (1915 - 1977), The Presidency of South Africa (2006).
  • Mali, 48 ans après : Socialisme, dictature, révolte et révolution. A N'fa Diallo, Le National (Bamako), 16 September 2008.
  • 22 septembre : Le souvenir d’un grand jour. Hady Barry, Nouvel Horizon (Bamako), 19 September 2008.
  • De l’Union française à l’indépendance : Que de chemins parcourus !. Abdrahamane Dicko, Les Echos (Bamako), 19 September 2008.


  1. ^ The Times, June 8, 1961, p. 16; Issue 55102; col. B
  2. ^ P. J. Imperato, Mali: a search for direction, p. 69
  3. ^ P. Diarra, Cent ans de catholicisme au Mali, p. 273
  4. ^ Sangare, Mamadou. L'histoire et le roman dans la trilogie Kouta de Massa Makan Diabate. Paris: Septentrion, 1999. p. 128.


Malian author Massa Makan Diabaté satirizes Keïta's presidency in his novel The Butcher of Kouta, which features a socialist, dictatorial president named "Bagabaga Daba" (literally, "ant with a big mouth"), who is later removed by a military coup.[4]

In literature

From 1963 to 1966, he normalized relations with the countries of Senegal, Upper Volta and Côte d'Ivoire. An advocate of the Non-Aligned Movement, Modibo defended the nationalist movements like the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN).

In 1963, he invited the king of Morocco and the president of Algeria to Bamako, in the hope of ending the Sand War, a frontier conflict between the two nations. Along with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Keïta was successful in negotiating the Bamako Accords, which brought an end to the conflict. As a result, he won the Lenin Peace Prize that year.

Modibo Keïta devoted his entire life to African unity. He first played a part in the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Keita and Egyptian President Organisation of African Unity conference, November 1966

As a Pan-Africanist

After being transferred back to the capital Bamako in February 1977 in what was claimed to be an action by the government towards national reconciliation in preparation for his release,[2] Modibo Keïta died, still a prisoner, on May 16, 1977.[3] His reputation was rehabilitated in 1992 following the overthrow of Moussa Traoré and subsequent elections of president Alpha Oumar Konaré. A monument to Modibo Keïta was dedicated in Bamako on June 6, 1999.

On November 19, 1968, General Moussa Traoré overthrew Modibo Keïta in a coup d'etat, and sent him to prison in the northern Malian town of Kidal.

On the political level, Modibo Keïta quickly imprisoned opponents like Fily Dabo Sissoko. The first post-independence elections, in 1964, saw a single list of 80 US-RDA candidates returned to the National Assembly, and Keïta was duly reelected to another term as president by the legislature. From 1967, he started the "revolution active" and suspended the constitution by creating the National Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CNDR). The exactions of the "milice populaire" (the US-RDA militia) and the devaluation of the Malian franc in 1967 brought a general unrest.

. Keïta, afterward, felt that he had a friend in Kennedy. John F. Kennedy and met with President Sukarno Although Keïta was initially viewed with some wariness by the United States because of his socialist views, he made it clear that he sought good relations with Washington. In September 1961, he travelled to America in the company of [1]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.