Burkina Faso approves three-year transition before elections

Military government leader Damiba signs a charter outlining a transition process approved by a national conference.

Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba
Paul-Henri Damiba speaks during a televised address in Burkina Faso [File: AFP]

A national conference in Burkina Faso has adopted a charter that will allow a military government that seized power in the West African state in January to lead a three-year transition.

According to media reports, the charter was approved and later signed by military government leader Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba in the early hours of Tuesday after a day-long debate in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Damiba, who did not speak during the signing, led the January 24 coup that removed President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

The coup, the fourth in 18 months in the West Africa region, had raised concerns of a backslide in democracy in a region that was shedding its “coup belt” moniker.

A commission that drafted the transitional charter had proposed a two and a half-year transition, saying the military government had said it needed that time to stabilise the country and organise elections.

Hit by violence

Burkina Faso, alongside neighbours Mali and Niger, is struggling to contain attacks by armed fighters linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS), who have killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the West Africa Sahel area, rendering swaths of territories ungovernable and weakening governments.

Eddie Komboigo, leader of one of the main opposition parties and runner-up in the 2020 presidential election, welcomed the charter.

“It is true that not everyone is going to be happy with the transitional charter … but it was the consensus that we reached,” Komboigo said, urging the military government to negotiate with regional leaders and international partners so that all can agree on the length of the transition.

Burkina Faso was suspended from the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, which have both called for a speedy return to constitutional order. The United States has also halted nearly $160m in aid due to the coup.

Source: News Agencies