The Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), the Burkinabe opposition party of former president Blaise Compaoré, has designated party president Eddie Komboïgo as its candidate for the November presidential election. Komboïgo had been the party’s candidate for the 2015 election, but his candidacy was subsequently rejected owing to a law that excluded politicians close to Compaoré who supported the former president’s attempt to modify the Burkinabe constitution. This move spurred a popular revolt and led to Compaoré’s overthrow in 2014.
The opposition parties are hoping to ensure the defeat of Kaboré’s MPP party
The CDP will be facing off against not only incumbent president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré but also Zéphirin Diabré, the opposition leader and head of the Union for Progress and Change (UPC) party. Diabré was nominated for the presidency a day before Komboïgo.
The CDP and UPC have agreed to run a joint ticket should the presidential election go to a second round, hoping to ensure the defeat of Kaboré’s People’s Movement for Progress (MPP).
Seven months before the presidential and legislative elections, Burkina Faso’s government is facing a rising tide of frustration and lack of faith among citizens over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the heart of these worries is how authorities handled, some would say botched, the treatment of the country’s first recorded death (and the first in sub-Saharan Africa) due to the disease.
Rose Marie Compaoré, an opposition member of parliament and the second vice-president of the National Assembly, died two days after she went in for a routine diabetes check-up on March 16. Medical professionals who spoke with Le Monde said Compaoré’s death was just one of many preventable deaths arising from the government’s lack of preparation.
The fallout from this scandal has drastically weakened public trust in official authorities.
At the outset of the pandemic, no laboratory capable of administering COVID-19 tests was ready in the capital. Suspected patients would need to be sent to Bobo-Dioulasso, more than 350 kilometers west of Ouagadougou, resulting in test result delays of up to three days. The situation was made worse by lying: on April 21, the National Assembly summoned the minister of health to question her on the government’s handling of the outbreak. The minister, Claudine Lougué, told parliament health authorities had met with Amado Compaoré following his wife’s death and disinfected the family’s house.
An investigative report from the bimonthly Courrier Confidentiel revealed these claims to be a fabrication, with Lougué herself alleging in the magazine’s columns that she was made to perjure herself on government insistence.
The country is already contending with a dire humanitarian crisis.
The fallout from this scandal has drastically weakened public trust in official authorities, with some Burkinabe even buying into the false notion that COVID-19 cases are being deliberately inflated. Doubts like these could prove deadly in a country already contending with a dire humanitarian crisis caused by ongoing conflict in the Sahel, which has made it difficult for Burkinabe citizens to access healthcare services.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok escaped unharmed when his armored motorcade was hit with an explosive and automatic gunfire in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on Monday, March 9. Hamdok was reportedly transported to hospital afterwards, but his chief of staff, Ali Bakhi, wrote on his Facebook page that neither the prime minister nor anyone else in the convoy suffered injuries.
Why It Matters
Sudan’s political stability remains precarious after mass civil protests forced the dictator Omar al-Bashir to relinquish power after thirty years, and a Transitional Military Council (TMC) was subsequently established to run the country as it prepares to transfer power to a civilian government in 2021. The attack on the prime minister could serve as a pretext to postpone elections or, worse, justify a reversion to a military dictatorship in the name of security. One of the chief members of the TMC is General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who presides over Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, a branch of the Sudanese military responsible for killing hundreds of protesters shortly after Bashir’s fall. Were Sudan to revert to military rule, General Dagalo would likely seize power, jeopardizing efforts to redress human rights violations such as the atrocities during the Darfur Genocide largely committed by the Janjaweed militias under his command.