Burkina Faso History 1960-1980

Burkina Faso History 1960-1980


1960-1966: the first republic

Maurice Yaméogo became the first president of the independent state of Upper Volta, which became a member of the United Nations on September 22, 1960. Besides the current president, he is the only non-military president elected who did not come to power through a military coup.

According to ehealthfacts, Yaméogo was foreign minister and defense minister at the same time and tried to position Upper Volta within the African states and the world community. Domestically, he tried to push back the influence of traditional power. He eliminated the opposition, including the arrest of its leaders, and ruled with a party. The formation of clientelist patronage networks, nepotism, autocracy, electoral fraud and a lavish style of government led to mismanagement and brought the country to the brink of ruin with over-indebtedness of FCFA 4.5 billion. It was easy for France to gain new influence and decision-making power. An elaborated “accord de coopération” left France to dominate currency, economy and finance, post and telecommunications, culture, education, justice… An upper class established itself which on the one hand wanted to enjoy great personal advantages, on the other hand gave France influence and decision-making power. France was denied military bases on voltaic soil.

Yaméogo’s rigid and at the same time lavish government polarized the people and the president at the end of 1965. Blinded by his election victory with 99.98% of the vote in October 1965, he did not notice how new urban actors were entering the political arena alongside the parties: trade unions, the military, schoolchildren.

Yameogo was offered a loan of FCFA 20 billion from the Ivory Coast to cover the budget deficit. In order not to become dependent on other countries, however, Yameogo ordered wage cuts of 20% on December 28, 1965, which in view of his pompous 2nd wedding with the Ivorian Suzanne de Monaco and the subsequent trip to Brazil, which was celebrated a few weeks earlier Outraged. On January 1, 1966, there was a popular uprising of the trade unions, led by the former mayor of Ouagadougou Joseph Ouédraogo. On January 2, police, gendarmerie and military were mobilized to restore order. They could not prevent the girls from the Collège du Cours Normal with their director Jacquline Ki-Zerbo, wife of the aforementioned historian Joseph Ki-Zerbo, from going to the “Place des Armes” (later “Place du 03. janvier, then” Place de la Révolution ”, today“ Place de la Nation ”) marched. The high school students from the Lycée Philippe Zinda Kaboré followed. The slogan“ Bread, Water, Democracy! ”Became“ Army to power! ” Lieutenant Colonel Sangoulé Lamizana had allegedly received the order In this situation, however, preferred to have the masses shot at, “to take responsibility” yourself.

1966-1980: Lamizana’s reign

  • 1966-1970: “Provisional Military Government”
  • 1971-1974: The second republic
  • 1974-1976: Government of “national renewal” under military rule
  • 1977: transitional government of “national unity”
  • 1978-1980: Third Republic

The first successful popular uprising took place in Upper Volta on January 3rd, 1966 and brought Lieutenant Colonel Sangoulé Lamizana to the head of the state unprepared. In order to be able to restructure the ailing state finances with a free hand, Lamizana banned all political activities for four years and set up a supreme military council, the Conseil Supérieur des Forces Armées (CSFA). Through drastic austerity measures, he succeeded in turning the deficit budget in 1968 into a surplus.

In 1970 a new constitution was adopted by referendum. Lamizana secured the presidency for the first four years as a soldier with the highest rank by constitution. A third of the government posts should be filled with members of the armed forces. Four parties were elected to the 57-member parliament. The strongest group was the UDV-RDA with 37 seats (video). The socialist-oriented MLN under the leadership of Joseph Ki-Zerbo, defamed in the election campaign, received only six seats and was expelled from the government. As the unions and students were close to the MLN, political tensions ensued. Within the government there was a falling out between the Prime Minister and party leader Gérard Kango Ouédraogo(19.07.1925 – 01.07.2014) and the President of Parliament and Secretary General of the RDA Joseph Ouédraogo. They blocked each other’s ability to act and made the country ungovernable. On February 8, 1974, the military, with Lamizana at its head, took power again and ended the Second Republic.

The false hope that Upper Volta could gain wealth through manganese extraction or industrialization, while at the same time agriculture was neglected and desertification was not combated decisively enough, also had a disastrous effect on the country’s development.

From February 1974, public life, the military, territorial administration and civil institutions were under the auspices of “renewal”. Radio was no longer called “radio”, but rather “voice of renewal”. In this phase of the “government of national renewal” new problems burst: the consequences of the great drought of 1973, the first border war with Mali, recession as a result of the oil price crisis and the opposition of the old parties and the trade unions. During the famine, relief supplies were withheld and ordered for the Cadillac military government in the United States. The mood turned to the disadvantage of the “renewal” proclaimed by the military. In December 1975 there was a general strike. Lamizana responded by increasing salaries and grants, reshuffling the government with the participation of representatives of the parties and trade unions, and promising a new constitution. Through his courtesy, he even managed to split the unions. In January 1977, a transitional government was formed with the participation of three parties, which drafted a new constitution, which was adopted in a referendum on November 27, 1977.

Strongest parliamentary group in the new parliament of the III. The republic became the UDV-RDA, from which six MPs around Joseph Ouédraogo split off to form the “RDA-Front de Refus” and formed part of the opposition. The strong men in the country were now the re-elected President General Lamizana, Prime Minister Joseph Conombo and President of Parliament Gérard Kango Ouédraogo. They only had a wafer-thin majority in parliament. Nevertheless, the RDA dominated almost all sectors and excluded all other parties from making decisions. This led to greater unity within the opposition and trade union groups, which were joined by new communist parties and student groups. A large opposition demonstration on the “Place de 3.janvier” on February 24, 1979 was the prelude to more and more strikes that paralyzed the country in November 1980 with the “56 day strike” instigated by teachers. Once again the army, in which a generation conflict simmered, made use of its control function and resolved the government crisis militarily. Colonel Saye Zerbo, a cousin of Lamizana, took power and dissolved the III. Republic on.

Burkina Faso History 1960-1980