Mali: a researcher on the front of coronavirus and politics

“We don’t sleep so much, but that’s for a good thing”: when he is not participating as a researcher in the fight against coronavirus, Amadou Koné campaigns for a place as deputy in a country facing countless hurts.

As a 38-year-old, he is a researcher in the only P-3 laboratory in Mali, where risk samples can be handled. This is where all tests were done for the Ebola virus 2014 and now for the coronavirus.

He is one of thirteen researchers who have not counted hours for several weeks, and even less since Mali officially declared his first case of pollution this week. Every Thursday he teaches at medical school. “I sleep three hours a night right now. Between the tests that follow and the campaign … “.

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Because Mr. Koné, who alternates between the purple suit without a tie outside the lab and the white blouse inside, runs for deputies on Sunday with his small party, “Mouvance Républicaine”, which he created with others in 2014 and who intends to “offer something different to young people in this country. ”

Every night he takes off his blouse and puts on his jacket to go to the districts of Bamako’s fifth district. “We meet, but with less than fifty people requested by the government” because of the corona virus, he explains, thin glasses on his nose.

Was it necessary in his research soul to postpone the choice at the request of several opponents? “It may have been necessary, but I can understand that the government wants to keep them. And if they are maintained we cannot be there! ”


The vote, which has already been postponed several times mainly due to the security situation, aims to renew the 147 seats in the assembly. The mandate of elected officials, which officially ended in 2018, was extended to the beginning of May.

There is little enthusiasm for the campaign. Much of the territory remains prey to almost daily violence by jihadists and communities. More than 350,000 people have fled their homes, according to authorities.

That day, Amadou Koné left the laboratory at. 16.00 for a meeting at. 17:00. “My teams continue to work in the lab. If it is an emergency, I will come back. ”

It was in the street, in front of the house of a sympathizer. Benches have been installed. Thirty people, especially women, came. The presence of coronavirus had not yet been detected in the territory. There has been little talk of the disease, but it was probably no stranger to the crowd.

“Usually there are more people in the meetings, but you have to respect the measures,” notes Mamadou Bolly, a resident of the neighborhood who came to listen.

“You have to motivate people to vote, it’s important for the country. Each time they were scheduled, the elections were canceled. This time they have to stand! Even with coronavirus, we will respect the distance when we go to the office.

“We’ll win”

The candidate, Koné, alternately wears the cap to politicians and researchers during the meeting. From an explanation of how to vote he passes without transfer to the importance of washing hands.

“It’s stronger than me! You have to educate people, this is important. And if it can also be done during a meeting, why not! ”

Awareness of barrier guests is the government workhorse in a country where the informal sector supports a large part of the population in markets, trade fairs …

Wednesday evening, after the announcement of the first cases, it was necessary to raise the answer and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta declared a health condition, which is compounded with the security situation already in force, and night curfew.

After his meeting and the other two that followed, Amadou Koné went home. The day was not over. “I came back in contact with my team who continued the testing in the lab.”

“The samples have priority over the campaign,” he smiles, “but we will win on Sunday, rest a little on Monday and then come back to continue the fight against coronavirus on Tuesday.”


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