Big opposition rally by Zéphirin Diabré

He managed to get the other main opposition group, the MPP, to participate, apparently. That is huge.  If the two groups can work together on a common platform, and not divide the opposition vote, and not get co-opted into alliance of convenience with Blaise, then there might indeed be peaceful alternance… Burkina does not, unfortunately, have a good history with opposition alliances.   Here also is a good sign of U.S. soft power at work.  As a major partner in Burkina Faso, being fairly clear that leaders should give up power, and at the same time being clear that the U.S. is a friend of the country and will continue that relationship, offers a nice level playing field, and lets opposition be bolder than it might be (they know a credible referee (not like those FIFA referees) is watching closely).

Déjà, Zéphirin Diabré dit vouloir « rassurer tous les pays frères, les partenaires et les amis du Burkina, que contrairement à une propagande savamment distillée ici et là, un changement démocratique au Burkina Faso n’entrainera ni chaos, ni recul, ni instabilité et encore moins une guerre civile ». « Notre peuple est mature, et ses leaders politiques ont le sens de la patrie », a ajouté Zéphirin Diabré, félicitant « chaleureusement » au passage, « le Secrétaire d’Etat américain John Kerry, et à travers lui le Président Barack Obama, pour leur position très ferme sur le respect de la limitation des mandats présidentiels ».

Downside risk appears to be shifting towards Blaise as opposition gains momentum… the murder Salifou Nébié is fueling conspiracy theory rumors that revive memories of Norbert Zongo’s brutal killing in 1998.  If a peaceful demonstration is disrupted by gendarmes and people get killed, Blaise will see months of urban protests on his watch… he’ll have to compromise, and at this point he only has peaceful alternance to offer.

via « Notre détermination est totale », dixit Zéphirin Diabré – leFaso.net, l’actualité au Burkina Faso.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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