The statue of the man who ousted, and, on his orders, had assassinated one of Africa’s foremost leaders was finally brought down in Burkina Faso’s second largest city,Â Bobo Dioulasso.
Blaise Campore, in power for 27 years, wants to scrap Presidential term limits to remain in power beyond 2015, but citizens of the gold and cocoa exporting West Africa nation are reluctant.
Burkina Faso has erupted in one of sub-sahara Africa’s largest protests, with international press and civil society organizations estimating that over a million people marched in downtownÂ Ouagadougou, and other cities around the country, destroying Campore’s statue, looting and engaging the police in running battles.
He came to power through a military coup which killed Thomas Sankara, the marxist politician who changed Burkina Faso by expelling foreign donors and instilling the spirit of self-reliance in that country’s citizens.
But will the protests succeed in stopping the president?
Well, if previous evidence from other countries in the region is anything to go by, it looks like Compaore will have his way. Furthermore, President Compaore is no stranger to term limit extensions. In 2005 he successfully ran for a third term on a legal technicality, arguing that the 2000 term limit law did not apply retroactively.
Since 1990, 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have had leaders try to rewrite their constitutions to do away with term limits. Seven (64 percent) of these leaders succeeded (Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Guinea, Namibia, Togo, and Uganda). Three failed (Malawi, Nigeria, and Zambia), in the face of erstwhile opposition from legislatures. In one instance â€“ Niger in 2010 â€“ attempts by President Mamadou Tandja to extend term limits resulted in a coup. In previous work, I found that the dominance of the presidentâ€™s party in the legislature was a good indicator of the likelihood of term limit extension. It is noteworthy that in the three cases in which attempts at term limit extension failed it was legislatures that rejected such amendments. And on this score, Compaore has a clear advantage. His party, Congress for Democracy and Progress, controls two thirds of the seats in the Burkinabe legislature (73 out of 111).
Additional reporting read here.