Thursday, October 30, 2014

The end of Blaise?

Nabéré Honoré Traoré, the head of the Burkina Army, announces that the army has taken control in Burkina Faso after thousands of protesters attacked the National Assembly today in a culmination of two days of intense demonstrations in Ouagadougou and nation wide- furious that Blaise Compaore is intending to once more  change the Burkina constitution in order to be able to remain in power for a further five years. What is it with these African leaders that make them incapable of giving up power?
Compaore has been the President  of Burkina Faso since he himself came to power in the  coup he staged twenty seven years ago against his former brother-in -arms, Thomas Sankara, the Che Guevara of West Africa- brilliant demagogue and hero of the downtrodden but ultimately a dangerous firebrand in the eyes of the West which welcomed Blaise and his coup with relief  and has seen in him something of a pillar of stability- he has  gained a of status of a respected  elder statesman, taking on the role of mediator in the Malian crisis- a position which has always sat badly with the Malians who have never understood where Compaore has gained the right to lecture Mali on Democracy.

I travelled to Burkina for the first time in 2007 with Keita. I was curious about Thomas Sankara, and wanted to talk to people about him- but I quickly understood  that it was a taboo subject. It has been clear to everyone for 27 years that Compaore has Sankara's blood on his hands, but no one has dared to speak. 'Will Blaise now be held responsible or taken to justice over Sankara's assassination?' asked someone on Malijet tonight.
Well, at the moment it is not quite clear whether he has been forced to leave power, the spokesman for the Army has not said so. But it is my guess he will not dare to hang on to power now in the face of the Burkina people's mass protest, and we have probably witnessed the end of Blaise Compaore's reign.


Blogger David said...

Extraordinary, as you say, that these old hands just won't give up, even now that he has so much blood on his hands. Heard a powerful speech from the opposition on the World Service last night.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Laurent said...

I think that such old hands are in fact French Government puppets, they are maintained in power with the help of Paris who is still playing colonial master. As long as you are useful to Paris you can stay, it's a real cancer in Africa.

2:16 PM  

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