Burkina main players consider transition plan

November 8, 2014 12:54 pm
Isaac Zida (L), named by Burkina Faso's army as interim leader, sits before a press conference on November 6, 2014 in Ouagadougou/AFP
Isaac Zida (L), named by Burkina Faso’s army as interim leader, sits before a press conference on November 6, 2014 in Ouagadougou/AFP

, OUAGADOUGOU, November 8 – Burkina Faso’s political parties, army and civil society groups were on Saturday to consider a plan for a transitional government after last week’s ousting of veteran president Blaise Compaore, sources said.

A commission comprising members of the main players in Burkina Faso on Friday finalised a document outlining the transition process in the west African country after Compaore’s 27 year rule, a source at the talks said.

“The members have finished their work” and “the document has been finalised,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

The document is to be submitted on Saturday for consideration to a conference of the main players in the country, including political parties, civil society groups and the army.

Earlier an official with a civil society group stressed the need to “arrive at a general agreement” and move ahead as quickly as possible with the transition to avoid “the junta getting a taste for power.”

Burkina Faso’s army, which took power following a vacuum created when Compaore fled amid unrest, was on Friday invited to join the talks in the latest twist in a tortuous process towards a transitional administration.

The other players were two people chosen by the opposition, two representatives of civil society and two others representing religious and traditional leaders.

The army’s power grab has attracted international condemnation and threats of sanctions from the African Union if it does not hand over power within two weeks.

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, second in command of the presidential guard, took over after Compaore fled the west African country following a mass uprising against his plans to revise the constitution and extend his rule. Zida has pledged to return power to civilians within a year.

– National transition council –

According to a copy of the army’s proposed transition charter seen by AFP, there would be a national transition council headed by a military figure and made up of 60 members from the army, civil society, the opposition and Compaore’s party.

A civilian leader of an interim government would be chosen by traditional chiefs, the Catholic Church, Muslims, Evangelicals, the army and civil society.

None of those involved in the transition would take part in the ensuing presidential and legislative elections.

Proposals for the transition are due to be presented on Monday to mediators from the United Nations, the African Union and the ECOWAS west African regional bloc.

The UN Security Council has called for “a peaceful, civilian-led and democratic transition process leading to the holding of free, fair, inclusive and credible elections as soon as possible.”

International donors, whose funding is crucial to the impoverished country, are also watching the situation closely.

Canada has said its aid of around $35 million (28 million euros) would be restored when a “legitimate and accountable civil authority has been re-established”.

Washington said it was still “gathering facts” but could yet withdraw its $14 million annual aid package.

Known in colonial times as Upper Volta, the landlocked country became independent from France in 1960 and its name was changed to Burkina Faso (“the land of upright men”) in 1984.

In a parallel development, west African leaders meeting in Ghana on the Burkina crisis on Friday warned against sanctions in view of the “ongoing regional efforts” to resolve the crisis.


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