Burkina Faso did the right thing

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Michel Kafando, Head of Interim Government of Burkina Faso

   Since protests followed the plan of Former President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27 year long rule by altering the constitution, I have carefully followed the developments in Burkina Faso. When the protest became too much and protesters tried to burn the Legislative building, President Compare fell to the pressure. He however changed the plan and instead said he would continue being president and his government would oversee the next year’s Presidential elections. This still didn’t go down well with the opposition and protesters who demanded his outright resignation. He later bowed to the mounting pressure.
       After President Compaore resigned, the Army took over government and suspended the constitution. This was when my fears began to grow. Burkina Faso is a poor country, I thought and the civilians would suffer badly in the eventuality of an internal conflict. The UN also is overstretched with various degrees of conflicts around the world and even the current Ebola crises and funding might not be very forthcoming. My fear for the country mounted when in less than a week, three different military officers claimed the position of the head of state. This isn’t turning out to be good, I reasoned. This might result to another South Sudan and this would be a conflict West Africa wouldn’t like to see at all.
     My fears however subsided when the African Union started to mount pressure on Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, the acting head of state to restore civilian government or face sanctions.
This morning, I saw the very welcome news that the Foreign Minister who has also worked with the UN has been appointed as the Interim Head of State and would oversee the elections next year and that the constitution had been returned.
So, I must say that Burkina Faso did the right thing and I’m happy that the military officers put the interest of the nation above selfish political and personal ambitions.
Certainly, more countries need to follow this example and quickly resolve political issues in order to prevent the country fron spinning out of control. If Syria and South Sudan had done this, we might be singing a different song now and thousands of precious human lives would have been saved.

Written by Olisa Lotenna


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