Sunday, 2 November 2014

ECOWAS Must Demand Immediate Restoration Of Constitutional Rule In Burkina Faso

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must quickly dispatch a delegation of retired heads of state, to demand that the Burkina Faso military hands over power to the president of the Senate, the constitutionally mandated successor  to President Blaise Campaore, who has just resigned his position as president.

There can no compromise with the ECOWAS policy of zero tolerance for military coups against democratically elected governments in the west African sub-region.

We must not be oblivious of the fact that a number of protesters were shot dead during the uprising that swept Campaore from power. Their deaths must not be in vain. Burkina Faso's constitutional democracy must be protected.

The ordinary people of Burkina Faso did not risk their lives to resist the attempt by their ruling elites to change the constitution to allow the departed President Campaore to serve yet another term, just to enable the military to snatch power again after 27 years,  in the midst of the crisis created by the departed Campaore's foolish miscalculation.

The resignation of Campaore should trigger the succession plan outlined in the current constitution of Burkina Faso. That should be the message carried to Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida and the military high command by the ECOWAS delegation of retired heads of state.

 It must be made absolutely clear to them that an economic blockade will be immediately imposed to stop the flow of the country's exports and imports - unless and until power is handed over to the designated constitutional successor to former President Blaise Campaore. New elections should be held within the stipulated 60-90 days during the transition period under the president of the Senate.

One hopes that the ECOWAS delegation will be made up of former Nigerian  presidents General Abubakar and General Obasanjo and Ghana's Flight Lieutenant Rawlings.

A deadline of 14 days must be set for the military to  restore constitutional rule in Burkina Faso. It must also be made clear to Lieiutenant Colonel Zida and  the military high command that the position of ECOWAS is that Burkina Faso's present constitution still underpins the country's democracy: and should guide the processes leading up to the next presidential and parliamentary elections.

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