Burkina Faso 2014
Burkina Faso. The year was marked by President Blaise Compaore’s attempt to push through a constitutional amendment that would allow him to be re-elected for additional terms of office, despite already serving 27 years in power. In January, extensive demonstrations were carried out against the president’s alleged plans. Several former supporters of Compaoré, including former Prime Minister Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, founded the Opposition People’s Movement (Movement du peuple pour le progrès; MPP) the same month.
In February, Burkina Faso formed the G5 Sahel organization together with Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad. The organization, headquartered in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott, will strengthen cooperation on development and security between the countries.
In October, the government and the opposition negotiated whether a referendum on a constitutional change would be held in December. The proposed changes would, among other things, enable Compaoré to remain as president. Concern for electoral fraud contributed to the opposition opposing the proposal. In the capital, Ouagadougou, protesters and riot police rallied and unions called for a general strike across the country.
On October 30, the day when Parliament, dominated by Compaoré’s party of the Congress of Democracy and Progress (CDP), would take a position on the proposal for amendments to the Constitution, violent demonstrations again erupted. The parliament building was stormed and set on fire and the state TV house was also taken over by government opponents. In other parts of the country, the regime was also protesting.
According to Countryaah.com, Burkina Faso population in 2020 is estimated at 20,903,284. The Army leadership announced on that day that they were taking over power and Compaoré then announced that he would renounce his attempts to extend his time in power. However, his promises of a transitional government, which he himself intended to lead, did not satisfy the protesters, who continued the protests demanding the president’s immediate resignation. Compaoré responded by introducing an emergency permit.
In the end, Compaoré, after all, seemed forced to relinquish power after new statements from the country’s top military that they had taken over the leadership of the country. The overthrown president fled to the Ivory Coast, and both Defense Secretary General Honoré Traoré and Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, Vice President of the Presidential Guard, claimed that they would step in as leader of a transitional government. In the end, it was Zida who received the support of the army, and some of his first decisions as head of state were to rescind the constitution and allow soldiers to clear the capital’s square from protesters.
The opposition in the country condemned the military’s use of force and was supported by both the UN and the African Union (AU) and the West African cooperation organization ECOWAS. The AU ruled that the military’s actions were undemocratic and demanded a transition to civilian rule within two weeks, otherwise economic sanctions were expected against the country. The hard-pressed Zida said she was willing to surrender power to a “consensus government”, but at the same time explained that preserved stability was more important than avoiding sanctions.
In November, Burkina Faso received a mediation delegation consisting of the Presidents of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. According to the agreement that resulted from the negotiations, elections will be held in November 2015. Until then, the country will be governed by an interim president and a transitional government. No one in the transition board should be allowed to stand in the upcoming election.
In November, Michel Kafando was named interim president by a committee of representatives of the military, religious and traditional groups, civil society and the former opposition. The 72-year-old Kafando is a diplomat and has previously been Foreign Minister and UN ambassador. He appointed Isaac Zida as prime minister, who in turn appointed a transitional government. Kafando himself took over the post of Foreign Minister while Zida made himself Minister of Defense. In December, the former ruling party CDP was banned.