MILITARY SCOOPS UP MAJOR POSTS

By Lisa Vives, US Africa News. Updated 2014-11-29

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MILITARY SCOOPS UP MAJOR POSTS
Protest in Burkina Faso

Three weeks after a people’s revolt in Burkina Faso, which sent President Blaise Campaore fleeing into exile, dreams of a civilian-led transition to free elections were dimmed this week as the military held on to powerful posts in a new Cabinet. Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida will be both prime minister and defense minister.  Four other ministries, Interior and Territorial Administration, Sports, Environment, and Mines, will also be headed by military men.Interim civilian President Michel Kafando will also serve as foreign minister.

Meanwhile, renewed efforts were announced this week to verify the burial place of Burkina’s slain revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. According to the Sankara family, the body was not buried as claimed by the ousted president, but dumped in a mass grave. Identification of Captain Sankara’s body and nearly a dozen of his comrades had been the subject of dispute with the ousted leader since Sankara’s assassination in October 1987. In the aftermath of Sankara’s murder, Mr Compaoré made it appear like the revolutionary leader’s body received an official burial in a grave painted in national colors in the main cemetery in the capital, Ouagadougou.Now, Interim President Michel Kafando has pledged to verify the actual burial place and identify the body.

Benewende Sankara, the lawyer of the Sankaras said:  “This is what we have long been denied and by this decision, I can only but say that the new leadership has restored confidence and hope of greater things to come in this country.” Hopes have also been raised that an investigation of the murder of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo in 1998 will be carried out. At the time of his death, Zongo was working on a story about how the driver of the ex-president’s younger brother was tortured and killed in 1998 for allegedly stealing money from his employer. 

All efforts by Zongo’s family and their lawyers to seek accountability for his killing were thwarted until the case reached the heights of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights. In a landmark ruling, the Court decided that Burkina Faso engaged in a cover-up and violated a provision of the Economic Community of West African States which requires it not only to protect freedom of expression, but also the vocation of journalism.A protest this week against the former prosecutor, Adama Sagnon, for enabling the case to be dismissed in 2006, produced his resignation from the interim administration. “We wanted to show our refusal to endorse the appointment of Judge Adama Sagnon who is implicated in the Norbert Zongo case,” said Rasmane Ouedraogo, a Burkinabe musician who participated in the protests.

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