The junta that took power a week ago in Burkina Faso restored the Constitution it had suspended on Monday, the day of a meeting with a joint delegation from the Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) and the UN.
The Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR, junta) “ensures the continuity of the State while waiting for the establishment of transitional bodies”, indicates a “fundamental act” of 37 articles, read on national television by one of its members, Lieutenant-Colonel Cyprien Kaboré.
It specifies that “the fundamental act lifts the suspension of the Constitution”, which it completes until the return to constitutional order on a date which is not specified.
“The MPSR is the central body for defining and guiding security, economic, social, development and restoration of territorial integrity policy,” the text continues.
He specifies that the president of the MPSR is the “president of Faso, head of state, supreme head of the national armed forces”.
The fundamental act guarantees the independence of justice and the presumption of innocence, as well as the fundamental freedoms contained in the Constitution, in particular freedom of movement, freedom of expression and that of the press.
A decree read on television also put an end to the functions of the Chief of the Defense Staff, Gilbert Ouedraogo, in a country plagued since 2015 by increasingly frequent attacks by jihadist groups, which the power of the president overthrown Roch Marc Christian Kaboré failed to contain.
The announcement of the reinstatement of the Constitution comes on the day of the visit to Ouagadougou by a joint delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN, led by Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Annadif Mahamat Saleh, the UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel (Unowas).
– AU suspension –
After its suspension on Friday from the authorities of ECOWAS, Burkina Faso was suspended on Monday from those of the African Union (AU) “until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country”, like Mali and Guinea. neighbours, where soldiers have also taken power.
On Saturday, ECOWAS had already sent a delegation of several army chiefs from the region to meet the head of the junta, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.
The junta had on this occasion “reaffirmed its commitment vis-à-vis sub-regional and international organizations”, according to the presidency of Faso.
ECOWAS leaders will meet in Accra, Ghana on Thursday to study the results of these two missions and decide on possible additional sanctions against Burkina.
– Sankara trial suspended –
Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba has spoken publicly only once, in a speech on Thursday evening on national television.
If he made security his “priority”, he also committed to “return to a normal constitutional life”, “when the conditions are met”, without specifying a duration.
He also indicated that his country needed its international partners “more than ever”.
Sunday evening, the French general staff announced that it had killed 60 jihadists in the north of the country, during a joint operation with Burkinabè forces.
Burkina Faso, home to French special forces, is a major ally of Paris in the anti-jihadist fight.
On Monday, when the trial of the alleged assassins of former President Thomas Sankara (1983-1987) and 12 of his companions in 1987 resumed – interrupted by the putsch – the Ouagadougou military court decided to suspend it until to the “restoration of the Constitution”, which has just been done.
Mr. Damiba seems for the moment to be able to count on several supports.
That of the population first, criticism against the coup remaining very rare in Ouagadougou where several demonstrations had called for the departure of Mr. Kaboré, accused in particular of being unable to deal with jihadist violence.
Several civil society organizations and opposition parties also say they are ready to work with the junta to help the country emerge from the security crisis.
In the wake of Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso has been caught for nearly seven years in a spiral of violence attributed to jihadist movements, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have killed more than 2,000 people and forced at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes.
Several particularly deadly recent attacks had amplified the exasperation of the population against the regime of ex-president Kaboré.