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DECLARATION

DECLARATION OF THE WEST AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM (WACSOF) ON THE CURRENT SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SITUATION IN BURKINA FASO

Thursday 30th October 2014, the parliament of the Republic of Burkina Faso intended to review and pass a new bill on the Constitution in order to allow Mr. Compaoré to run a new tenure after the end of his term in office in 2015.

It should be recalled that the proposed amendment of the Constitution has generated considerable controversy between the opposition and civil society on one hand and the presidential majority on the other hand.

Following a call from the opposition and civil Society, mainly youth organisations, thousands of people gathered at “la Place de la Revolution’’ on October 30th in the morning demonstrating.

Having confronted security forces, protestors successfully penetrated the National Assembly which they burnt down with many other public buildings, including the Ministry of territorial administration, and the office building of the Prime Minister. Clashes occurred in various parts off the country resulting to several deaths and destruction of public and private property.

The former President who spoke late evening (30th) excluded possibility of resigning from office notwithstanding pressing requests by the opposition and mainly by protestors.

He declared that he was open to negotiations for a possible transitional democratic government and promised to step down in favour of the forthcoming elected president.

This situation created room for a constitutional vacuum resulting to an uncertainty in terms of state power management in Burkina Faso.

After heavy street protests on this October 31st, 2014, Blaise COMPAORE resigned as President of Burkina Faso and the Army Chief of Staff, General Honoré TRAORE proclaimed himself Head of State of Burkina Faso.

In this situation plunging the country in a state of political uncertainty, social and safety fragility, the West African Civil Society Forum ( WACSOF) expresses its deep concern regarding, in one hand, the promotion and protection of human rights and, in the other hand, peace and stability of the country.

WACSOF affirms its solidarity to the civil society of Burkina Faso and presents its condolence to the families of the victims of the recent tragic events.

Pursuant to article 1 of the ECOWAS Protocol on good governance and democracy which forbids obtaining or maintaining power through unconstitutional means, the West African Civil Society Forum expresses its dismay at the persistence of the illegal access to power in African countries.

WACSOF, through its national platform in Burkina Faso notices the weakness of state agencies which will be challenged at the opening of the transition period and possibly result in an interruption of the democratic process and the rule of law.

A transition process needs to be implemented within 12 months and the International Community and ECOWAS mediators, should start preparation in order to set a frame work for discussion between army and opposition parties, to put in place participatory and consensual transition bodies.

The transition should have a clear agenda for the development of a new constitution, an Electoral Act, a charter of political parties and organisation and effective holding of free fair and transparent elections within 12 months of the transition.

The role of the International Community, especially ECOWAS is to accompany the transition in order to equip the country with a new legal and institutional frame work which respects liberal democracy and social progress.

WACSOF in its contribution to democracy in West Africa, reconfirms its commitment to democratic values in the management of state affairs in Africa. In this regards, WACSOF recommends:

  1. A common assistance mission comprising ECOWAS, African Union, United Nations and European Union. This mission will assist transitional officials in the preparation of a new electoral process
  2. Taking into account all stakeholders mainly civil society and opposition parties during the transitional process, both at the political and management levels
  3. Army should stay out of the political management of the country but ensure the stability and safety of the process
  4. The conduct of the transition should be entrusted to non-partisan forces in order to equip the country with a new political environment where political parties will be preparing for political contests in November 2015.

 

Mme Nathalie Koné-TRAORE,

WACSOF Chair Person,

Abuja Regional Secretariat

WACSOF FRENCH

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