Burkina Faso junta approves three-year transition plan

Burkina Faso’s new military ruler has approved a transitional charter which will allow him stay in power for three years.

Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba signed a charter which was drawn-up by a military-appointed commission and had been discussed by a national forum in Ouagadougou.

The document says he will not be allowed to stand in elections scheduled for 2025.

An opposition leader, Eddie Komboigo, said not everyone would be happy with the plan, but it was based on consensus.

The previous leader, Roch Kaboré, has remained under house arrest since he was toppled in January.

Burkina Faso has been suspended from the regional group, ECOWAS, and the African Union.

Less than five months after soldiers in fatigues appeared on national television in Guinea to announce that they had removed President Alpha Condé from office, the spectacle was repeated on Monday in Burkina Faso, as the military proclaimed the overthrow of head of state, Roch Kaboré.

And not forgetting the double-putsch in Mali, where army officers deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in August 2020.

They promised the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), they would organise elections by next month.

But in May 2021, they staged a second takeover to reassert control over the transition and later set out plans to stay in power for almost five more years.

Yet, West Africa was a region where constitutional multi-party civilian politics had become the norm.

Almost all countries were at least formally democratic, even if some elected presidents, once in office, twisted the rules to perpetuate their stay in power.

Now three members of ECOWAS are under the command of men in uniform. Is the long-forgotten era of the military strongman making a comeback? That is probably too simple a way of looking at things. Guinea was always a bit of a case apart – with a long history of dismal governance and repression.

Mr Condé was elected as the first democratic head of state in 2010 but became increasingly autocratic, altering the constitution to allow himself run for a third term in 2020 and jailing a growing number of opponents. -BBC

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