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Former Burkina Faso President Compaore, sentenced to life in prison for killing ‘best friend’ Sankara

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Former President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The tribunal ruled on Wednesday that Compaore and 13 others were guilty of plotting the assassination of the Marxist revolutionary, Sankara, in the palace coup.

The charismatic and well loved Sankara was gunned down in the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou, on October 15, 1987, at the age of 37, four years after he took power in a coup d’etat.

After taking out Sankara, Compaore went on to rule for 27 years before being ousted in another coup in 2014 and fled to Ivory Coast, where he is still believed to live.

Compaore was charged in absentia along with his former head of security, Hyacinthe Kafando, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment.

Blaise Compoare and Thomas Sankara were best of friends

Blaise Compoare and Thomas Sankara were best of friends

Both have previously denied any involvement in Sankara’s death along with 12 other defendants accused of involvement in the plot, but in delivering its verdict, the tribunal said the prosecution had proven its case beyond every reasonable doubt.

“The court finds Blaise Compaoré and Hyacinthe Kafando guilty of attack on state security, complicity in murder and concealment of a corpse,” the tribunal said in its ruling.

Sankara, a former fighter pilot, was greatly loved by Burkinabés as
he won public support in the impoverished West African nation by selling off a government fleet of Mercedes, lowering the salaries of public servants, fighting corruption and forbidding first class state travel.

He also cut his own salary, refused to work with air conditioning and jogged through Ouagadougou unaccompanied, but his critics often said his reforms had curtailed freedom and did little to enrich the ordinary people.

Thomas Sankara was well loved by Burkinabes

Thomas Sankara was well loved by Burkinabes

Every October 15, workers, students, and activists gather around with white flowers marking the spot where Sankara was shot and killed, a testimony that he is still loved.

Politics

Look beyond Lungu, Hichilema, former minister Siamunene urges Zambians

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Former Defense Minister, Richwell Siamunene, suggests Zambians should see beyond President Hakainde Hichilema and Edgar Lungu if recent reconciliation efforts failed.

Siamunene made the position known while guesting on Saturday’s Prime Television Governance and Leadership Talk. “They needed to reconcile like yesterday. But if they fail to reconcile, Zambians should forget about them and choose other leaders among the 20 million citizens. Life shouldn’t be about the two,” he said.

Siamunene said the appeal for Presidents Lungu and Hichilema to reconcile was long overdue and that Zambians should turn elsewhere if they don’t while also urging the public to refrain from ‘joking when voting’ to enhance governance

“I think Zambian voters joke a lot when voting. We need to be as serious as Zambians; that is why the country is in this situation,” Siamunene said.

He stressed that ethnically motivated leadership was harmful.

Siamunene believed that leaders should be chosen based on their ability to advance development, not their wealth or education.

“Once you become a leader of the country, you cease to be family property and become part of the Zambian family. No friends or family considerations should influence decisions,” he said.

He underlined the necessity for exceptional leadership to fight corruption, saying that waiting for the President to authorize probes makes it academic.

Hichilema at his sixth attempt at winning the presidency in 2021 defeated the incumbent, President Edgar Lungu, by a landslide – more than a million votes. Hichilema capitalized on the failings of Mr. Lungu’s six-year tenure which was criticized for human rights abuses, corruption, a faltering economy, and high unemployment. The two politicians have remained political enemies despite recent talks of reconciliation.

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Tunisia’s Kais Saied eyes reelection despite human rights concerns

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In one of over twenty presidential elections scheduled to be held across Africa in 2024, Tunisian President, Kais Saied, declared his intention to seek reelection on October 6.

According to Saied, the goal of the campaign is “to continue the national liberation struggle,” as stated in a Facebook video posted by the presidency.

The government of Saied has been accused by opposition parties, many of whose leaders are incarcerated, of pressuring the courts to punish his opponents in the 2024 elections so that he may be elected to a second term.

On the same day that opposition leader Lotfi Mraihi, a possible presidential contender, was sentenced to eight months in prison for allegedly purchasing votes, the bid to run for reelection was made public.

Additionally, the court permanently barred Mraihi, the head of the Republican Union Party and a vocal opponent of President Kais Saied, from standing for office.

The opposition claims that unless imprisoned politicians are released and the media is free to operate without interference from the government, no fair or credible elections can be place.

The opposition has referred to Saied’s 2021 dissolution of the parliament and transition to executive order as a coup. Saied was elected in 2019.

According to the president, putting a stop to years of widespread corruption within the political class required judicial action.

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