Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat

Burkina Faso protesters

The African Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Burkina Faso if the military doesn’t hand over power to civilian rule within two weeks.

However, Burkina Faso‘s military leader, Issac Zida dismisses African Union intervention preferring stability.

The military led by Zida agreed on elections next year but hasn’t agreed on an interim leader.

This seems to be a ploy for these counter revolutionary forces to reverse the gains of the popular uprising that led to Blaise Compaore resigning after 27 years and fleeing to Ivory Coast.

Lt Col Zida retorted, “we are not afraid of sanctions.”

This suits his plans as the interim leader to buy time to regroup and consolidate power while re-strategising Compaore’s stunned counter revolutionary forces.

A quick and efficient hand over to the Burkinabe is in the interests of those who kicked Compaore out of power.

Zida’s comments that the military “care more about stability than the AU’s threats” hints at how far the military is prepared to dig its heels into the ground to do what it needs to do to protect their interests and sacrifice the gains made by the popular uprising.

Burkinabe protesters

The military are taking advantage of the impasse between the political parties about who should be the interim leader. It is surprising that they pushed so far without having made that crucial decision.

I assume the results of the popular uprising took them by surprise too. They never expected to find themselves in the position they are in now. They seem to be suffering stage fright and indecision after coming to terms with reality.

It is no surprise the military are taking advantage of the confusion in the civilian camp. It is a basic rule of the art of war.

However, the political parties are clear on one thing: they don’t want Blaise  Compaore‘s  former governing party to be involved in the ongoing discussions. I wouldn’t want them too.

Lt Col Zida was previously second in command of the presidential guard: that would put him in the latter camp the political parties don’t want in the discussions.

Lt Col Issac Zida

The Burkinabe have been very vocal and they are still protesting because they want civilian rule. Therefore, it is imperative the army respects the will of the people because they will not rest until their demands are met.

ECOWAS, the West African regional body discouraged the international community from imposing sanctions on Burkina Faso. They are optimistic their mediation efforts led by Senagelese President Macky Sall can achieve an equally agreeable solution.

He was party to the three man team that traveled to Ouagadougou this week to engage in talks which secured the one year transition agreement.

However, I believe any means that force the military to hand over power soon shouldn’t be discouraged. It is in the best interests of the Burkinabe and long term future of Burkina Faso.

Various parties are engaged in ongoing talks to agree on a civilian interim leader.

The AU sanctions could include:

  • a travel ban on military officials.
  • suspension from the union.

However, we have to question their efficacy and whether they serve as a deterrent. They don’t sound like much of a deterrent to a desperate regime.

Burkinabe protesters

Burkina Faso‘s constitution states that the head of the National Assembly should take office if the president resigns. Considering that the resignation wasn’t exactly done through constitutional means, it is pointless sticking to the letter of the law.

It is better to abide by the spirit of the  Burkinabe. The head of the National Assembly is part of Compaore’s inner clique, therefore, the constitution is better observed in the breach than in the observance.

The Burkinabe have come too far to resort to the constitution that was an instrument used to oppress them. They have dared to invent the future by shunning the old formulas and choosing the way of mad men.

It is the mad men who normally shape the future and change the world. I want to be one of those men.

The struggle for the Burkinabe continues. I believe they deserve our support in every way in their ongoing struggle against tyrants and rogues.

The latest Burkinabe uprising forms part of a longer history of mass public protests. Burkina Faso is a nation with a very active and strong civil society.

This bodes well in their determination to build a democracy that reflects their aspirations and vision for the future.

Burkinabe protesters

Slowly but surely, mass demonstrations and coups have subtly changed the nature of Burkinabe society. They have forced various regimes to change their policies or make concessions to appease the people.

Thomas Sankara’s revolution remains the most popular example. Its impact spread far beyond the borders of Burkina Faso. Its influence continues to raise the consciousness of Africans and other nations across the world.

Sankara’s Revolution brought with it enormous changes that transformed the socioeconomic structures, cultural practices, women’s liberation and political consciousness.

Democracies by nature are not apocalyptic. Democracies are not the result of philanthropy or enlightenment. Rather, they are the net sum of humanity’s struggle against tryanny and power.

Therefore, they are always evolving. Peaceful, unlawful or violent movements have being at the center of challenging and upsetting the status quo. Sometimes external forces have influenced the outcome of democracies via covert or overt means.

Democracies are built over time. They are shaped by local trade unions, political, individual, civic society, peasant and women’s struggles.

Burkina Faso provides the perfect case study to observe how localised struggles shape a democracy.

Democracy can’t be imported and uploaded into a political system like you upload software into a computer’s hard drive and expect it to operate smoothly.

When a democracy is shaped by local struggles it reflects a local character.

Therefore, an African democracy  should reflect an African character.

Burkinabe protesters

Western democracy works for them because it was shaped over centuries by various struggles in their respective countries which is why their democracies function differently, reflecting their unique characteristics. No two democracies are ever the same.

The greatest mistake Africans ever made was to stop struggling after independence, expecting politicians and others to develop democratic institutions and society. That goes against the development of a democracy.

Consequently, politicians and leaders took advantage of the apathy of the masses to protect their own interests. They developed or retained structures that protected their own interests.

The socialist ideals they preached before independence were forgotten once they became enamoured by the trappings of capitalism.

Therefore, it is essential to reawaken the struggle mentality in Africa to shape the democracy Africans desire.

The Burkinabe are leading in this regard and daring to invent the society they want to live in where they are free and able to realise the envisioned self.

Burkinabe women protesting

For now, it is the military versus the people. I believe the will of the people will triumph no matter what the military try to do to frustrate the people’s aspirations and dreams for the future to determine their destiny.

For once, I commend the African Union’s proactive decision to preempt the situation. It is surprising because they are normally reactive and tend to protect one another hence earning the moniker the Dictator’s Club.

Let us keep our fingers crossed they don’t let the people down.

Aluta Continua! Viva Revolution!

1 Comment

November 8, 2014 · 8:44 pm

One response to “Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat

  1. Pingback: Burkina Faso Sanctions Threat | thegatvolblogger

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