Burkina Faso; Power Of Opposition – Joe Onwukeme:
Blaise Compaore until 31st October 2014 was the president of of Burkina faso. He took over power as head of state on 15th October 1987 in a coup that murdered Thomas Sankara one Africa’s great leaders. Thomas Sankara has been cited as a revolutionary inspiration not only in West Africa but in other countries across Africa. He was the man behind the change of name of their country from Republic of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso meaning land of the upright people.
Blaise Compaore was elected president in 1991 in an election boycotted by the main opposition parties, he was re elected in 1998 for a 7 year term, in November 2005 he was also re elected as president of Burkina Faso.
In an attempt to change the constitutional electoral law of Burkina Faso to abolish presidential term limits to allow him run again and extend his 27 year term as president led to a two days series of uprising in the country’s capital Ouagadougou and other regions through protest, riots, civil resistance and demonstrations that resulted to the suspension of the constitutional amendment bill in parliament and the removal of Blaise Compaore as the president of Burkina Faso.
The major actors that led to the shameful removal of Blaise Compaore as president of Burkina faso were two formidable and united opposition parties, Union For Progress And Change and Union For Rebirth Sankarist Movement.
Similar resistance took place in June 2011 in Dakar capital of Senegal when former president Abdoaulaye Wade under estimated the power of opposition in an attempt to change the electoral law to enable him contest another term after he has spent two terms of 7 years and 5 years concurrently in office as president. On the 27th Of January 2012, Abdoalaye Wade was officially approved by the Constitutional Council to run for a highly controversial third and last term. Following this declaration enraged mobs consisting of the opposition engaged in violent protests throughout the city. The resistance and protest contributed to his failure to win majority of the votes and would have to face a run-off. He subsequently lost the second round of voting held on 25th March 2012 to the opposition candidate Macky Sall, Sall succeeded Wade as president of Senegal on 2nd April 2012.
It will be re called that on 11th April 2011, Mr Gbagbo a renowned academician was himself forced out from office as president of Ivory Coast after his refusal to step down for Mr Alasane Ouattara who won the presidential election held in November 2010.
Blaise Compaore’s exit from government 31st October 2014 is a great lesson to ruling parties all over Africa that thinks their parties are unbeatable and can rule as long as they exist.
Africans in the 21st century are becoming enlightened more than before, information dissemination has gone global, social networks which are easily accessible in our various gadgets are now the fastest place to watch, read and listen to latest developments all over the world on democracy, politics and governance, these developments have changed the mind set of Africans towards their selfish leaders.
The era of one man seizing power, changing electoral laws to enable him rule forever is gradually coming to an end.
Economic decline and decrease in standard of living courtesy of poor leadership over the years has resulted to a new form of coup without the use of military machinery, the series of uprising that engulfed North African countries of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and fundamentally re shaped the nature of politics in the region is gradually catching up with West Africa and other African regions.
The presidents of Cameroon, Congo Republic, Equitorial Guinea, Sudan and Zimbabwe have tenaciously held on to power more than two decades including Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy. All of them will all be shaking down their spines following Blaise Compaore’s shameful exit from office. Who will be the next to go? Some may not survive another general elections in their countries, formidable opposition parties are springing up and getting stronger all over Africa.
In democracy all over the World, opposition governments have been able to check mate the excesses of the ruling government, there are opposition government everywhere in this world, but healthy political opposition has been the fundamental right of politicking.
This is also a clarion call to Nigeria and Ghana’s ruling political parties as they prepare for general elections in 2015 and 2016 respectively, both governments have come under heavy criticism as a result of corruption, high unemployment rate, economic decline, terrorism and other factors.
Opposition parties in Nigeria are taking advantage of these criticisms to strategize and build formidable opposition parties that will give the ruling party a strong resistance at the polls in 2015.
I will also commend the youths of these African countries, they have been the machinery behind the series of change in their various governments, they have been able to depose many non performing African presidents, they were able to achieve this feat through series of uprising and elections against unpopular governments, they are gradually changing and dictating the affairs of their governments. Any president that ignores the reasons why these presidents were ousted and also shun policies that will be of benefit to the youths should get ready to face the same music. Nigeria take note.
Joe Onwukeme: An Idealist wrote from Enugu
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