''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 6

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

Contact us
All Africa Conference of Churches
African Union Peace and Security
UK Serious Fraud Office
World Association for Human Rights - USA
Audit Service Sierra Leone
National Union of Journalists (UK)
BBC African Service
Daily Trust of Nigeria
UN Great Lakes
Writer Adichie
Southwark Council
S.L. Web
All Africa.com
Africa Week
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International
Trial Watch
International Criminal Court
One World
Royal African Society
University of
East London
Nigeria Anti Corruption Commission
Institute for Democracy in Africa
archive 6
archive 7
archive 8
archive 9
archive 10
archive 11
archive 12
archive 13
archive 14
archive 15
archive 16
archive 17
archive 18
archive 19
archive 20
archive 21
archive 22
archive 23
archive 24
archive 25
archive 26
archive 27
archive 28
archive 29
archive 30
archive 31
archive 32
archive 33
archive 34
archive 35
archive 36
archive 37
archive 38
archive 39
archive 40
archive 41
archive 42




Sunday 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 Blaise Campaore.

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 against him".

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 internationalist quipped.

"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 staff. This is what remains of the Parliament that was poised to extend the term of Blaise Campaore.

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 Sunday morning.

"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 closed.

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."

The 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. A Burkinabe soldier - caught in the middle of a project he does not understand as his bosses fight over the spoils. His bloodshot and bewildered eyes say it all.

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 transition.

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 regime."

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 rat?

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.


Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002