November 2, 2014
- As events unfold in Burkina Faso with the army
accused of wanting to hijack the peoples'
revolution, mass protests in the offing. Burkina
Faso's opposition parties, the African Union and
United States government warn against any
military-led transition. The mouthpieces of the
rat remain silent, very silent.
Protesters are expected to
hit the streets of the Burkinabe capital
Ouagadougou and other centres of protest today
after the military announced a new man to head
the country in the wake of the departure of
Blaise Campaore following massive street
protests against his attempts to prolong his
stay in power. This after twenty seven years in
the top political seat.
Immediately after the
toppling of the sub-region's Great Satan, one
Gen Honore Traore announced himself as the new
boss in town. His tenure was short-lived and
this could have been expected given the
reception of the protesters when he announced
himself as the top man to address their pains
and political plans for a free and democratic
post-Blaise Campaore country.
Less than twenty four
hours later, a statement purported to be "an
agreed and joint deal by the entire armed forces
of Burkina Faso" effectively dismissed Gen Honore Traore
and instead a new kid on the block was announced
on Saturday - Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida,
deputy commander of the elite presidential
guard. This means that within a couple of days
Burkina Faso had to do with three men as "heads
of state". Reports that there had been some
sounds of gunfire coming from the area of the
Presidential Guard could well mean that there
could have been a power struggle which was only
resolved after the country's military Chief of
Staff, the head of the army was forced to
relinquish his role after the departure of
Observers of the
political as well as the military balance within
the various units of the armed forces speculate
that the infighting within the military could
well spell disaster for the protesters who had
shed blood, lives and tears to force the removal
of the Great Satan and it would not be
surprising to hear of another coup - a very
bloody one this time as accounts are settled.
"It would seem, elements within the Presidential
Guard whose units fired live rounds on
protesters could have threatened other units if
they fail to tow the line of the Presidential
Guard and this better-equipped and heavily-armed
unit could well be dedicated to the return of
Blaise Campaore back to power, never mind the
lives lost and the massive demonstrations
The Presidential Guard
could have the best equipment, the best
motivation for keeping Blaise Campaore in power
and they could even be in touch with him as
watchers say that they arranged for him and his
top aides and family members to leave the
country and avoid arrest, but should it come to
the crunch - an outright battle between them and
the rest of the army, the Presidential Guard
would be easily eliminated no matter what
resistance they would be putting up against the
rest of the armed forces.
One Sierra Leonean
"Having Zida in place to
lead a transition is like having the head of the
police in Sierra Leone heading such a body
should the rat meet the same fate or better
still having the man who threatened to raze
Freetown to the ground - one S. O. Williams who
now heads the army, our very own national army
that is meant to protect the territory and
people of Sierra Leone."
As the infighting goes
on, like dogs fighting over the bones left by
their master, the military in Burkina Faso must
be looking over its shoulder, seeing far beyond
the epaulettes and wondering what's in the
messages being sent by the African Union and the
United States government.
A report from the
Reuters news agency
has this bit - "Burkina Faso's opposition
parties, the United States and the African Union
rejected the army's seizure of power in the West
African country on Saturday after the
resignation of President Blaise Compaore,
setting the stage for fresh street protests. The
military top brass named Lieutenant Colonel
Isaac Zida, deputy commander of the elite
presidential guard, as head of state on
Saturday. A power struggle within the armed
forces was resolved by sidelining the chief of
Zida, who has
operational control over the army's best trained
and equipped unit, had declared himself interim
president in an early morning radio address,
overruling military chief General Honore
Traore's claim to lead a transitional government
following Compaore's departure...
On the dusty streets of
Ouagadougou, the capital, protesters voiced
anger that they had driven out Compaore - who
seized power in a 1987 military coup - only to
have another soldier imposed on them.
"This transition should
be democratic and civilian in character," said a
statement from a coalition of opposition parties
and civil society groups, which called a
demonstration in the vast Place de la Nation for
"The success of the
uprising - and therefore the leadership of the
transition - belongs to the people and should
not be confiscated by the army," it said.
Troops loyal to Zida
deployed at strategic points across the capital
on Saturday night, though an evening curfew was
pushed back by three hours to 2200 GMT. The
airport was also reopened. Land borders remained
Despite being one of the
world's poorest nations, Burkina Faso positioned
itself as a key mediator in regional crises
under the stewardship of the imposing Compaore,
popularly known as 'Handsome Blaise', who was
renowned as a skilled negotiator and a wily,
ruthless politician. A taciturn former soldier
who had survived several bids to oust him after
he seized power in a 1987 military coup,
Compaore initially sought to defy the calls for
him to step down once the protests turned
violent on Thursday.
Diplomats said Compaore
- widely blamed for the death of his friend, the
leftwing revolutionary Thomas Sankara, in the
1987 coup - was alarmed at the possibility of
prosecution on rights charges if he left office.
But his bid to cling to the presidency - and its
lavish trappings - angered many young people in
a country stagnating in 183rd place out of 186
countries on the U.N. human development index.
With an average age of
less than 18, most of the country's 17 million
population have never known another leader.
Crowds danced, cheered and blew whistles in
Place de la Nation on Friday after Compaore's
resignation, before the army announced it was
taking charge. "This is a 'sub-Saharan Spring'
and it must continue against all the presidents
who are trying to hang on to power in Africa,"
said law student Lucien Trinnou on Friday,
referring to the Arab Spring that toppled
several long-term leaders."
Voice of America
had this on its pages - "Burkina Faso's
opposition and civil society leaders are
rejecting the army's takeover of power following
the ouster of the country's longtime president.
In a statement Saturday,
they called President Blaise Compaore's
resignation amid a popular uprising a "victory"
that "belongs to the people. They also said the
transition should be "democratic and civilian"
and that its management should not be
"confiscated" by the army. They said the
transition should be "democratic and civilian".
The statement came just
hours after military officer Yacouba Isaac Zida,
who was second in command of the presidential
guard, announced that he is assuming the
responsibilities of leading the country. The
United States is condemning what it calls the
military's attempt to impose its will on the
people of Burkina Faso.
The State Department
called on the military to immediately transfer
power to civilian authorities. It also said
civilian authorities must be guided by the
constitution and immediately plan a free and
fair presidential election. Backing Zida, the
military released a statement which included the
signature of army chief General Honore Traore,
who had also claimed leadership of the
Meanwhile, Compaore was
said to be in neighboring Ivory Coast.
Announcing his status as
leader Saturday, Zida called for the support of
the international community.
"While waiting to define
in a consensual manner, with all the political
parties and civil society organizations, the
content and the contours of this peaceful
democratic transition, I assume from today the
responsibilities of head of this transition and
head of state to guarantee the continuity of the
state," he told the nation in French. "
I call on the
international community, in particularly
countries that are friends and allies of Burkina
Faso, notably in the African Union and ECOWAS,
to demonstrate their understanding and support
our people in this difficult time.''
What happens later today
will define the role of the military in the
transition process and how well organised and
prepared the civilian opposition parties are to
surmount the hurdles that must be overcome for
Burkina Faso to become another democracy,
fledgling as it would be.
In the aftermath of the
departure of the Great Satan of West Africa, we
are again reminded of how intolerant the beast
was in this piece by the
BBC's West Africa
correspondent Thomas Fessy -
"There hadn't been such
major demonstrations since the murder of the
investigative journalist Norbert Zongo at the
end of 1998. Mr Zongo was investigating the
killing of the driver of Francois Compaore, the
then-president's younger brother and special
adviser. He had himself warned his readership
that he may end up being killed after he
received a series of death threats. The murder
of Norbert Zongo marked a turning point for many
Burkinabes. His murder - which the government
initially claimed was an accident - sparked
unprecedented demonstrations. To many, the Zongo
case was a turning point during Mr Compaore's
And as events unfold in
Burkina Faso after the people forced Blaise
Campaore out of power for trying to illegally
continue to foist himself upon them, there
appears to be "an eerie silence", a collective
sense of amnesia from the corners of the
shameless mouthpieces of the rat.
Have they been ordered
not to publish stories about what led to the
ouster of a great friend of their master the
We doubt this very much.
We think it is a
deliberate ploy to keep the illegal and criminal
handouts flowing in not realising that even the
rat would be quite embarrassed and surprised
that his paid-for pages do not carry any story
of the events in Burkina Faso.