It looks like my earlier post may have been premature. In the brief summary I shared about Burkina Faso, you may have noted that this country has a history of political upheaval, marked by multiple military coups. In 2014, President Blaise Compaore — who had come to power after the assassination of the previous president — sparked yet another uprising after trying to amend the country’s Constitution to run for a fifth presidential term and was forced to flee the country and eventually deposed. Burkina Faso has been operating under a transitional government and democratic elections were scheduled for October 11.
You can read a timeline of coups and key events in Burkinabe history here.
On Wednesday, September 16, the transitional government was overthrown ahead of the scheduled elections. Interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Lt. Col. Yacouba Isaac Zida had been tasked with organizing the upcoming presidential election, but there have been tensions over the vote because members of the ex-president’s party have been declared ineligible. There have also been tensions between the interim rulers and the country’s elite Presidential Security Regiment because of moves to dissolve this military unit over the belief that they are a threat to the country’s democracy. Members of this military guard stormed the presidential palace and took the Interim President, Prime Minister, and members of the cabinet hostage. They eventually announced that they had staged a coup, and coup leaders have released a statement that the country will be led by Gen. Gilbert Diendere, the deposed President Campaore’s former chief-of-staff. There have been protests, gunfire, and fighting in the capital city, and the situation remains volatile.
You can read more about the events here.
Therefore, our program is postponing the workshop and cancelling international travel until things settle down. We are in communication with our field staff and monitoring the situation closely. We don’t know how long this situation will continue, but we will continue to assess the impact of this situation on our program approach and operations.