NewsWest AfricaBurkina Faso: President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré's promise in 2016


Posted on Friday, 08 January 2016 14:18

Burkina Faso: President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré's promise in 2016

President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. Photo©ReutersBurkina Faso's newly elected President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré's comfortable lead during the first round of the West African country's 2015 election proved one thing: his popularity.

Kabore is accepted by supporters of former president Blaise Compaoré and opposition elements whose insurrection in October 2014 brought the former ruler's 27 year regime to its wobbly knees. Kaboré's ability to garner massive votes lies in both his political fortunes and misfortunes.

No one is above the law

In 1989, two years after Campaoré had assumed office as president - having toppled the revolutionary Thomas Sankara, Kabore was appointed to his first ministerial post. After his decades-long serial ministerial appointments, he was tipped to succeed Compaoré.

But in 2010 the tables started turning on the would-be successor when Compaoré's brother, Francois, appeared on the political scene.

By 2012, his once stellar political career was all but in shambles when the ruling party gave him the boot as the ruling Congrès pour la Démocratie et le Progrès (CDP) party's leader. He had spent 13 years at the helm of that party.

François Compaoré's eyes were set on the trophy and Kaboré had become a nuisance. His entourage and a handful of top military commanders were fingered in the scheme to turn off the spotlight on Kaboré.

They convinced Blaise Campaore that Kaboré lacked the mettle to weather the vagaries of the top post. They claimed he was tractable.

After playing the hapless spectator of his own demise for several months, Kabore forged a close relationship with Salif Diallo who was then serving as minister, a special advisor to the president and vice president of CDP.

In 2013, as Blaise Compaore was preparing to tweak the constitution to allow himself to run for a fifth term in office, the two men left the ruling party.

All was not lost. Kabore's 20 odd years as a recurrent feature on the ministerial roll call, a stint as speaker of parliament as well as serving as Prime Minister had gained him clout among party faithfuls. Therefore, it did not require rocket science to see that his experience and large following in the ruling CDP were assets that could serve him well.

Joining the opposition was a no-brainer. In January 2014 Kaboré and Diallo, alongside Simon Compaoré - mayor of the capital Ouagadougou from 1995 to 2012 -, announced the creation of their own party, Mouvement du Peuple pour le Progrès. Simon Compaoré is not related to Blaise Compaoré.

Kaboré's stance, right from the outset, showed there was no love lost neither in his relationship with his former party nor Blaise Compaoré. "No one is above the law," he has said more than once in response to whether he would pardon Blaise Compaoré.

Prior to an international arrest warrant issued against Compaoré in December 2015, the former Burkina Faso strongman had often been rumoured as the mastermind in Sankara's assassination on 15 October 1987.

On the diplomatic front, Burkina Faso's new president will have to deal with the thorny issue of his predecessor's extradition from Cote d'Ivoire where he is exiled, after Burkina Faso charged Blaise Compaoré with "assassination" and "attempt and concealment of corpse".

While Blaise Compaoré's extradition from Cote d'Ivoire is proving complex, Burkina Faso citizens will be watching their new president and holding him to account. The year 2016 will determine whether Kaboré's former boss is indeed "not above the law".

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