Military coups in West African countries have continued to play a major role in the setbacks in democracy as it results in the suspension of the constitution, absence of elections, the use of decrees and political instability. In recent times a series of coup d’état has been noted in the French-speaking West African countries from Chad, Mali, Guinea Conakry, and now in Burkina Faso.
In 2021, tension rose in Burkina Faso as the populace continued to resist bad governance, demanding the resignation of their president, Roch Christian Kaboré as he was alleged to be incapable of tackling Islamist insurgency that has eaten up the peace of the nation. Protest actions owing to the increase in deadly attacks by armed terrorists became a trend in the country as several demonstrations were sparked by dissatisfaction with president Roch’s administration and his alleged weak reactions over issues of national interest, particularly insecurity.
On Monday, 24 January 2022, the Burkinabe army under the Patriotic Movement for Protection and Restoration (MPSR) announced that it had ousted President Roch Kabore following a coup d’etat on Sunday, 23 January 2022 when the president was arrested and placed under the custody of the military. The president of the institution (MPSR) Paul-Henri Damimba Sangadogo was confirmed as the leader of the coup as he finally took over the seat as the interim president of Burkina Faso and was sworn in by the Constitutional Council in Ouagadougou on 16 February 2022. This marks the seventh military putsch in Burkina Faso since its independence in 1960.
The coup came with much support from the population of Burkina Faso, who demonstrated showing support to the military junta. Consequently, it was condemned by international partners and the sub-regional authority (ECOWAS) that banned the country from the organization, without sanctions. While the country has witnessed a change in their political environment, it should be recalled that insecurity that has plagued the country since 2015 is one of the major factors that resulted in the fight against the democratic government.
With the negative effects posed by a military coup in the country’s political scene, Burkina Faso remains on the verge of experiencing further political instability as the process to be taken in restoring constitutional order and power to a civilian rule is subject to discord between the parties involved.
The intense need to ameliorate security in the country could be met with the military in power, however, the required assistance from foreign forces is likely to be far fetched because an illegal overthrow of power by the Burkina army has been highly condemned by international institutions such as; the ECOWAS, African Union, and the La francophone, thereby making the chances of receiving economic, security, financial and humanitarian assistance low. This can only be reassured when the military hands over power back to the civilian.
Although ECOWAS suspended Burkina Faso from its organization without sanctions and called on the military junta to propose a date to return power to democratic rule. A delay in fixing a date for the restoration of democracy may invoke sanctions from the sub-regional authorities.