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Burkino Faso 2014 - Coup

Burkina Faso is a constitutional republic led by an elected president. The constitution provides citizens the ability to change their government through free and fair elections, which they exercised through elections based on universal suffrage. Nevertheless, the former ruling party’s control of official resources and dominance in the former government severely disadvantaged the political opposition.

The year 2014 marked a new chapter in Burkina Faso’s history. On 31 May 2014 the opposition organized a "large popular gathering" to mark "the launching of a series of measures and provisions" calling for "citizen resistance" against the organization of a referendum to amend article 37 of the Constitution, which limited the number of presidential mandates to two and prevents Blaise Compaoré from being a candidate in November 2015.

On 21 October 2014 the Extraordinary Council of Ministers and Army chief of the interim regime, pledged to "hand over power to civilians". The crisis reportedly left at least 10 people dead and 200 wounded, according to medical sources. On 04 November former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo was appointed special envoy of the AU to Burkina Faso. The next day, crisis stakeholders agreed to a one-year transition to elections by November 2015, but did not agree on the name of the leader of the transition, following negotiations under the aegis of the Presidents of Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria.

On 31 October 2014, Blaise Compaore, who had served as president since 1987, resigned and fled the country following protests by more than 200,000 persons against his effort to alter constitutionally mandated term limits in order to run for re-election in 2015. On November 2, Lieutenant Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida declared himself head of state, suspended the constitution, and dissolved parliament. The 2014 coup was triggered by President Blaise Compaore's attempt to seek a new presidential term. On 30 October, violent street protests prevented the National Assembly from voting on constitutional amendments to lift the two-term presidential term limit. Later the same day, the Army dissolved the government and the National Assembly.

On October 28, more than 200,000 persons in Ouagadougou held a peaceful protest against Compaore’s effort to alter constitutionally mandated term limits to run for re-election in 2015. On October 30, the day of the National Assembly vote to amend the constitution, protests turned violent, and crowds burned the National Assembly building and other structures. Compaore dissolved the National Assembly and government and declared a state of siege.

From October 30 to November 2, 19 persons were killed and 625 injured during protests sparked by Compaore’s effort to force a National Assembly vote to amend the constitutionally mandated presidential term limits. On October 30, rioters ransacked government buildings in Ouagadougou, including the National Assembly and the offices of the state-run television station RTB. Several residences and offices of companies and individuals associated with Compaore were looted and burned. Security forces fired tear gas on protesters to disperse the crowds, and there were reports that security forces used live ammunition in some neighborhoods of Ouagadougou. Deaths resulted from gunshot wounds, trauma, severe burns, drowning, and asphyxiation.

On October 31, Compaore, who had been in power since 1987, resigned and fled the country with members of his family, the National Assembly president, and others. Lieutenant Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida, deputy commander of the Presidential Security Regiment, declared himself head of state on November 2, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the National Assembly.

On November 17, members representing different sectors of society signed a charter to guide the transitional government through preparations for elections. Michel Kafando was chosen as interim president in accordance with the charter. A 90-member National Transitional Council, holding legislative powers and including 25 members of the armed forces, was selected in accordance with the charter. A 26-member transitional government was appointed, including Zida as prime minister and minister of defense. Other armed forces officers were appointed to serve as minister of mines and minister of territorial administration, decentralization, and security administration. The transitional government dissolved municipal and regional councils, and special delegations were responsible for managing local governments until the next legislative and municipal elections.

The charter adopted to guide the transitional government required the organization of presidential and legislative elections within one year of adoption. As of year’s end, no date for elections was set. Under the charter the interim president, interim prime minister, and members of the interim government are not allowed to run in the presidential and legislative elections.

On 18 November 2014, after a military transition of less than three weeks and without violence, the new interim head of state, Michel Kafando, took the oath of office. The next day, Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida was appointed Prime Minister. on November 21 Michel Kafando was officially invested president of the transition. It was Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida who symbolically gave him power. On 24 November the president authorized the appraisal of the tomb attributed to Thomas Sankara, former head of state of Burkina Faso, murdered on 15 October 1987, just before Blaise Compaoré's coup d'etat.

The most significant human rights problems included security force use of excessive force against civilians and detainees; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; and violence and discrimination against women and children, including female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Other human rights problems included arbitrary arrest and detention; judicial inefficiency and lack of independence; official corruption; trafficking in persons, including forced labor of children; discrimination against persons with disabilities; societal violence; and discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

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Page last modified: 24-01-2022 20:12:57 ZULU