Sunday, September 27, 2015

Burkina Faso coup defeated; interim government back in charge

Between holidays and classes starting I haven't had a chance to blog since Tuesday, and a lot has happened in Burkina Faso since then.

The coup against the interim government happened on Wednesday, September 16, as the country prepared for elections in October. The day after the coup, my prediction was that "It is unlikely that the military will remain in power for long. ... There will likely be a transition to civilian rule in the not-too-distant future, and elections. The CDP will not likely be excluded from those elections. In fact, parties who attempted to ban the CDP may be banned themselves .... Perhaps the best we can hope for is that the military will negotiate some prerogatives and protections for itself (such as military control over the military budget and amnesty for the events of 1987 and this latest coup) ..."

So I was right about the coup not lasting long and the return of elections, but I didn't appreciate at the time the lack of support the presidential guard had from the regular army, so the . The regular army turned against the presidential guard coup leaders and took control of the capital on Monday and so yes the coup leaders negotiated an exit, as I expected, but they didn't negotiate from a position of strength and so didn't get much - it looks like all they got was safety for themselves and their families. The day after the coup leader claimed he was still in power (on Tuesday), the interim president was back in office (on Wednesday).

The Guardian has good English language coverage, and provides an analysis of how the coup was defeated. Credit goes first to the people of Burkina Faso, who rose up and deposed a dictator (Compaore) last year and rose up again against the coup. The second major factor was the regular army, who rather than joining with the presidential guard, pushed the guard to return to the barracks. The third major factor was condemnation by the international community, including the African Union and ECOWAS.
"Ecowas played a highly significant role that demonstrates the potential for effective regional intervention,” said Frank Charnas, CEO of risk analysis firm Afrique Consulting. Charnas said that the Senegalese president, Macky Sall, had initially led the efforts to resolve the situation. But when civil society groups questioned his apparent willingness to grant immunity to the coup leaders, the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, took the lead."

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