Supporters of Roc Marc Kabore staged a protest at the former President’s residence to prevent him from attending a meeting of Burkina Faso’s former heads of state in Ougadougou on Friday.
Called by army ruler Sandaogo Damiba to ‘accelerate national reconciliation’, the function only had two former Presidents out of five; Blaise Compaore and Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo.
“This morning we were preparing for the meeting when I found the situation outside the door. There were people who were mobilized and demanding not to do this (not attend the meeting). It’s true that the CRS (police) have come. It’s hard to see how we can deal with this situation, but I considered that we are already in quite a lot of discussions and using force (to remove the demonstrators) in this matter will not allow me to be able to participate,” said Kabore in a press conference.
Isaac Zida, who briefly took office in 2014 and currently lives in exile in Canada, and Michel Kafando, who ruled from 2014 to 2015 also did not attend.
Speaking alongside Compaore, Junta leader Damiba urged unity to defeat Islamist militants. But the invitation of Compaore, who was in April sentenced to life in jail for the murder of Thomas Sankara, has left many unhappy.
“We are not happy. We thought Damiba (Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, interim president who ousted Kabore) would end terrorism and do better than Kabore but now, the situation is even worse. We stood against Diendere’s coup (Gen. Gilbert Diendere 2015 coup attempt). Damiba is not doing good (by) calling people we do not want,” said a supporter of Kabore.
‘Should be arrested’
The other former leaders invited to attend the summit were Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who was overthrown in January, Isaac Zida, who briefly took office in 2014 and currently lives in exile in Canada, and Michel Kafando, who ruled from 2014 to 2015. But none of them attended.
Dozens of protesters demonstrated Friday morning outside Kabore’s home in Ouagadougou to prevent him from attending the meeting.
Members of Kabore’s party, the People’s Movement for Progress (MPP), were among those demonstrating to prevent him from attending the summit of former heads of state.
“Should we sacrifice justice, the foundation of the republican pact, on the altar of a certain national reconciliation?” the MPP asked.
Boukari Conombo, president of the Black Armband, a civil society movement, dismissed the new president’s attempt for reconciliation as “a farce”.
“It’s not the role of Damiba who made a coup to reconcile people,” he told AFP.
The Patriotic Front, which includes some 20 organizations and political parties, said Compaore “should be immediately arrested and taken to prison”, as an international arrest warrant has been issued against him.
“This reconciliation must not and cannot be achieved by establishing impunity or by making arrangements between politicians,” several trade unions, also present, said.
Zida could not make it “for administrative reasons”, while Kafando could not “for health reasons”, according to Damiba.