The Military Coup in Burkina Faso – An Abuse of Democracy


Military officials on September 17, 2015, led by one power-hungry individual, General Gilbert Diendere, walked into a cabinet meeting in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso and put an abrupt end to the transitional government. The transitional government was a product of national pro-democracy demonstrations that saw the ousting of former President Blaise Compaore, who had ruled the country for 27 years.

The interim President, Michael Kafando and the Prime Minister, Isaac Zida were seized by the armed military officials who claimed that their intent was to restore democracy. This could be interpreted as an attempt by Blaise Compaore to reclaim the presidency of Burkina Faso. Our African leaders have resolved to trade human lives for political power, a very sorry state of affairs for a continent that is still struggling to stand on her feet.

Gilbert Diendere is a former Chief of Staff to the ousted president Blaise Compaore. Having masterminded the coup and declared himself president, he seems to have certain scores to settle with the transitional government led by Kafando.

The transitional government has for the past few months been threatening to disband the powerful elite force that was formed by Compaore to silence the people of Burkina Faso from questioning his regime. This seems to have rubbed Diendere the wrong way.

The passing of laws that allegedly prevent the former leaders of the Compaore regime from participating in presidential and legislative elections is said to be the major cause of the coup.

Fatima Yaro, a leader of a youth organisation called Youth Democratic Organisation of Burkina Faso on September 17, 2015 through a Facebook video interview, condemned the coup and called for resistance by the people of the country.

Yaro also confirmed that about ten peaceful protesters have been killed in the political skirmishes. According to Yaro, demonstrations are being organized across the country to oppose the coup.

A statement released by Stephanie Wolfers, an analyst at the Institute of Security Studies in Johannesburg, indicates that ECOWAS and the AU are looking for ways to intervene in order to restore normalcy in Burkina Faso. “The AU is not hamstrung,” she said “both the AU and ECOWAS do not allow an unconstitutional change of power, they have the tools in place to intervene.”

Looking at the repercussions of the coup: closing down of private businesses, loss of lives, destruction of property and most importantly, the interruption of national elections that were just weeks away. It seems illogical that the perpetrators, calling themselves the National Council for Democracy, claim that their aim is to “start off a coherent, just and equal process that will lead to the implementation of a robust institutional system.”

Diendere is doing this for his own political gains and vested interests. His actions have nothing to do with the interests of the people. The youth in Burkina Faso should stand firm and strong against any form of threat to their own individual and economic freedom.