Burkina Faso Civil Society

Burkina Faso Civil Society


According to homosociety, Burkina Faso has a very colorful civil society landscape, which even during the Compaoré regime flourished largely free from the influence of the president and the ruling unity party and which contributed to a large extent to the overthrow of Blaise Compaoré. The numerous active organizations have so far been able to exert considerable influence on the political shaping of social and economic policy. The dominant organizations are trade unions, school and student associations and human rights organizations. In particular, the trade union system with the umbrella organization “Confédération Générale du Travail Burkina (CGTB)” is highly organized and has often been able to exert a decisive influence on the political course.

One of the main organizers of mass protests in recent years has been the human rights movement “Mouvement Burkinabè des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples” (MBDHP) with its chairman Chrisogone Zougmoré. In Burkina Faso she is at the head of a democracy movement and led the protests after the death of Norbert Zongo. The MBDHP has local offices in 27 provinces.

In the villages there are thousands of farmers and self-help groups, women’s associations and NGOs to solve development problems.

Political movements 2011-2014

The promise of the new Prime Minister in April 2011 to cut prices calmed the situation for a year and silenced the Coalition Nationale contre la vie chère (CCVC). After a few months, however, individual commitments had to be withdrawn. The 50 FCFA / liter increase in gasoline prices, and the consequent increase in food prices, once again became a major nuisance to the Burkinabe, especially as the country was suffering from food shortages at the time. The CCVC called nationwide demonstrations in May 2012on. She called for more price controls and greater state involvement in price formation. Up until the eve of the popular uprising on October 30, 2014, the “vie chère” movement held extensive demonstrations.

On May 22, 2013, a majority of the MPs pushed through the creation of a Senate against the fierce resistance of the opposition parties. The opposition criticized not only that such a Senate would unnecessarily devour six billion FCFA annually, but also that the project would hide the implementation of an extension of the presidential mandate beyond 2015. The Secretary General of the Center for Judicial Ethics in Burkina Faso RA Guy Hervé Kam called the creation of the Senate “useless, inappropriate and tax-wasting” [ Video]. With the Senate, the parties loyal to the president could obtain a 3/4 majority to amend the constitution. The Catholic Church also rejected its representation in the Senate as inappropriate. Around 30 parties therefore called for a day of protest on June 29, 2013.

The large demonstration in Ouagadougou began on the morning of June 29th. peaceful, but was violently broken up with tear gas by the police on the avenue de l´Indépendance. Numerous people were injured. In Bobo-Dioulasso – as well as in all provincial capitals – thousands took to the streets at the same time to demonstrate against bad governance, corruption and the creation of the Senate.

A constant topic in the public discussion remained a possible presidential candidacy by Blaise Comparé in 2015. Article 37 of the constitution ruled out such a renewal of the mandate. In interviews in Paris and Dori in December 2013, Blaise Compaoré emphasized the changeability of the constitution and thus poured new fuel on the fire. On December 16, 2013 the opposition united and set up a permanent crisis team to fight the constitutional coup (” Ètat-major Permanant de Crise” pour lutter contre le “Coup d´État constitutionel “).

Demonstrations on January 18, 2014

Led by three co-founders of the ruling CDP party, Roch Marc Christian Kabore (former CDP chairman, prime minister and parliamentary speaker), Salif Diallo (former CDP chairman and minister) and Simon Compaoré (former mayor of Ouagadougou), 75 leading party officials declared theirs at the beginning of 2014 Leaving the CDP party and joining the ranks of the opposition parties. The main reasons for their resignation cited the undemocratic leadership of the CDP, the creation of a senate and the questioning of Article 37 of the constitution (see above). On January 25, 2014 they founded a new party, the MPP (“Mouvement du Peuple pour le Progrès”), which called itself “social democratic”.

The citizens ‘movement “Le balai citoyen”, founded by the singers Smockey and Sams K Le Jah, and the ” Mouvement ça suffit ” are citizens’ movements that oppose the creation of the Senate, an amendment to Article 37, the increase in the price of life and injustice and fought impunity and called for more democracy and a change in leadership. They called for large – scale demonstrations (” marche meeting “) for January 18, 2014.

Participation in the peaceful protest march on January 18, 2014 was greater than expected in Ouagadougou as well as in Bobo-Dioulassou (allegedly 100,000 participants) and other cities. The leading politicians who resigned from the CDP attended. At a rally on Nation Square in Ouagadougou, Zéphirin Diabré, Arba Diallo and Saran Sérémé, among others, spoke. There was talk of a ” historic day “.

The intention of the government and some system-supporting organizations to hold a referendum on Article 37 and to let the population decide whether to run again for the president, who has been in office since 1987, aroused violent protests among the population, especially among the citizens’ movements and opposition parties mentioned. They saw the intended referendum as an illegally used instrument to breach the constitution (Articles 166 and 168), which should only serve to keep the president in power.
On May 31st there was a meeting against a possible referendum in the Stade de 4 août. Speakers included Zephirin Diabré,Arba Diallo and Benewende Sankara.
Committees against the referendum, the “Comités contre le referendum” (CCR), were set up nationwide. The committees worked to raise awareness among the population and for a better flow of information on the background to the referendum and coordinated their resistance.

The violent death of the constitutional judge Salifou Nébié on May 25, 2014 sparked a new wave of protests with incidents in Burkina Faso. He was found dead on the road to Saponé. Until his funeral on 09.06.2014 kept secret autopsy report of French physician Dr. Chochois attributed the cause of death to a fractured skull, broken collarbone and shoulder blade, and eight broken ribs. This autopsy report, ordered by the state authorities, turned out to be implausible, as it attempted to prove an accident to the exclusion of third parties without an unequivocal reconstruction of the course of events.
According to information from the Nébiés family in Leo, the judge feared for his life after falling out with the President on a central issue. As one of nine constitutional judges, he opposed an amendment to Article 37 of the constitution. It is also known that he sought rapprochement with the MPP, which had split off from the ruling party. As a result, another large demonstration took place on August 23, 2014 in Ouagadougou, which was essentially directed against a renewed application by Blaise Compaoré for the office of president in 2015.

After a resolution by the Council of Ministers on a change in the law became known, which should enable the president to run for another candidacy by means of a referendum, riots broke out in Ouagadougou on the night of October 22, 2014. Citizens’ movements and opposition activists called from October 28. to civil disobedience in order to defend oneself against the monarchization of the state. Schools stayed closed. Already on October 27th Enormous women demonstrated with large wooden spoons against the planned “constitutional coup”. On October 28 demonstrated about a million people against the request of the President and his assistants. Many moved to the houses of the deputies. A statue of Blaise Compaoré was overthrown in Bobo-Dioulasso. Street battles with police broke out in Ouagadougou [ video ]. It was a broad popular movement that took place on October 30th. overthrew the government and on October 31, 2014 the president. The motor of the movement was “le balai citoyen” with masses of young people who had never lived in the time of a president other than Blaise Compaoré.

Burkina Faso Civil Society