Burkina Faso’s President Kaboré freezes over 2022 coup d’état 

  • President Kaboré has been removed from power in Burkina Faso
  • The coup followed others in West Africa
  • The jihadist attacks concern security in the region
President Kaboré Burkina Faso
Former President Kaboré Burkina Faso

Why is Kaboré’s temperature FREEZING right now?

Answer: President Kaboré has been removed from power and is being held by the army. The military dissolved his government, the constitution and the national assembly.

President Kaboré was elected in 2015 and again in 2020, but his last mandate gave rise to popular discontent. Indeed, the Jihadist threat grew in Burkina Faso. Since June 2020, jihadist attacks targeted security forces in the country but also in the whole region. Resultantly, neighboring countries like Mali and Guinea have witnessed their governments being overtaken by the military in the last couple of months. 

Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Burkina Faso has faced instability and is one of the world’s poorest countries. The lack of international presence and humanitarian assistance, governmental stability and rampant corruption led the country to be vulnerable and prone to jihadist recruitment.

Furthermore, issues of malnutrition, infectious diseases like paludism, the surge in violence as well as complications in agricultural productions led many Burkinabés to leave the countryside to move to urban areas to find stability, adding up to the aforementioned dissatisfaction of the population. The fact that Kaboré was unable to tackle those systemic issues efficiently led to a growth in dissatisfaction throughout the country. His unpopularity and the fact that he did not live up to the expectations that the citizens had about his presidency led to a change in public opinion.

Kaboré’s main opposition leader, Komboigo, has tried to take advantage of the jihadist insecurity and the popular discontent to raise anger in the citizens. 

As a result of the popular discontent, Kaboré was removed from power on January 24, 2022. The local news published on social media a letter said to be written by Kaboréstating that he was stepping down from power voluntarily in the interest of Burkina Faso. Nevertheless, experts say that despite the handwriting similar to Kaboré, he probably wrote it under pressure or threat. Indeed, the military is holding the president hostage.

The UN and European Union have asked for his release repeatedly but the president has not yet been released. The army has ensured that Kaboré’s safety was safeguarded and that no harm would be inflicted. Therefore, both the EU and the UN as diplomatic tools have failed to solve the situation and release the president, which highlights the independence and sovereignty of the country’s army.

Who is changing Kaboré’s temperature? 

Answer: the military has dissolved the government and detained Kaboré. The Patriotic Movement for preservation and restoration is now in power.

The army has decided to remove Kaboré from power through a military putsch. The military has the capacity to act as a crucial decision-maker in order to make decisions that will eventually impact the status quo. Indeed, the army decided to dissolve the government, the national assembly and the constitution as well as close the border, to secure the country’s sovereignty and help it improve its economic situation.

The country is now in the hands of the Patriotic movement for preservation and restoration (MPSR). The MPSR aims at addressing deep-rooted problems of governance, civilian protection as well as corruption, which were made worse by the Islamist threat that the country has been facing in recent years. Similarly to other countries in the region, the Islamic State has been growing its influence, recruiting in the countries in which the insecurity, corruption and poor living conditions leave the population hopeless for improvements.

The international community has condemned the military putsch and urged the military to restore Kaboré’s presidency as well as the constitution to ensure stability in the country. The MPSR has ensured that it would propose a calendar to return as soon as possible to constitutional order, yet details were not made public.

A vast amount of the local population has been said to be glad about the result of the putsch, which was widely expected. The citizens hope that the military taking over and the removal of Kaboré will improve the safety in the country, reduce the jihadist violence and allow for  Burkina Faso to develop socially and economically. Indeed, Kaboré had strived to tackle these issues, reduce income inequalities and improve the living conditions and safety in Burkina Faso. As aforementioned, the president has failed to allow for systemic improvements in the country, as well as lost many of his supporters and weakened his democratic elected power.

What is driving Kaboré?

Answer: Kaboré strives to remain in power despite discontent  and protect Burkina Faso from the terrorist threat.

Kaboré seeks to remain in power despite the putsch and deal with the issues faced by Burkina Faso. Despite the popular support of the putsch demonstrated by the hundreds of people who marched through the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, the president was relatively popular until 2020 when the jihadist threat grew. The attacks started escalating over the recent years, killing thousands and displacing around 1.5 million people. Therefore, the population was feeling insecure and threatened in their own homes. 

Celebrations took place in the capital as well as in other parts of the country to show satisfaction with the military take-over, criticizing the ineffective response of Kaboréto to the Islamic violence. Nevertheless, the military is ill-equipped and unprepared to solve the issue faced by the country. Whilst the frustration felt about the government is understandable, the army is not likely to improve the situation. Indeed, Burkina Faso needs a stable government and constitutional order as well as a democratically elected president, like Kaboré. He, therefore, needs to gain back the support of his population and come up with concrete solutions to solve the variety of issues faced by the country.

Furthermore, if Kaboré does not return to power, the military should organize elections and let the population decide on who should be the next president. This would allow for a government to be formed based on a constitution and would benefit the stability of the country.

What does this mean for you?

Answer: The instability in the region and the absence of the president may lead to further jihadist recruitment and a growing threat for Europe.

The instability faced by Burkina Faso raises the question of the instability issue in former French colonies, and what France can do to solve it partially and contribute to restoring peace in the country and the whole region. France and Burkina Faso share strong relations, France being its first development assistance partner, as well as one of its biggest suppliers.

Furthermore, this tension leads to the growth of the terrorist threat. Indeed, although the military aims at tackling the issue thoroughly, the lack of a strong government embodied by one strong leader can entail the surge in terrorism in the country. Furthermore, instability is the main component that attracts jihadist recruitment, violations of human rights as well as shattered the democratic system of Burkina Faso. As a result, the country may face an increased threat as well as the whole region. Europe may face the aftermath of such soaring terrorism recruitment and see itself trapped in terrorist attacks. 

Furthermore, experts stated that a change in leadership, especially a takeover by the military is not enough to solve the fragile political and economic conditions of the country. Additionally, the coup has been widely criticized worldwide. The US condemned the acts of the military and urged them to return to a constitutional order and military officers to step back and not inflict harm to president Kaboré. As mentioned, several neighboring countries like Mali and Guinea have suffered from similar governmental instability in the recent month, raising concerns on the security of the region and the longevity of the African Union, which was destabilized by the multiple putschs.