Monday, October 5, 2015

The shift of power from military to civilians in Burkina Faso

The Economist argues that Burkina Faso's coup failed because "power in Burkina Faso is steadily shifting away from the army to civilians."

While this is certainly true to a large extent, it doesn't mean that the military has left politics completely. The coup also failed because it was led by one faction in the miltary (the presidential guard) but was not supported by another faction (the regular army). As Landry Signé notes,
"the transitional body was a hybrid of civilian and military rule, and not exclusively civilian. The military initially stole the transition after civil society and popular protests drove Compaoré from power, and the military managed to keep considerable power even after the appointment of a civilian president."
During the coup, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida was arrested by the Presidential Guard. Prime Minister Zida himself is a military man, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. So the military still has a fair amount of power in Burkina Faso. 

Nonetheless, it is promising that an important faction in the military took sides with civilian protestors over the junta. The next step is for civilians to run the country's political system without relying on allies in the military.

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