President Goodluck Jonathan, Ghana’s John Dramani Mahama and Macky Sall of Senegal were stunned on Wednesday, 5 November, 2014 when opposition leaders and civil society groups walked out of a meeting they brokered to bring back civilian rule in Burkina Faso.
The presidents of three neighbouring west African nations had flown into Ouagadougou to help broker peace between the opposition party and supporters of deposed president Blaise Compaore.
“We haven’t even buried our dead yet and they are putting arrogant people back in office who held the people in contempt,” declared Luc Marius Ibriga, the spokesman for the civil society groups, as their representatives left the room.
The presidents of Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal are trying to broker a transition deal as Canada suspended its aid to the impoverished west African nation and other nations considered after the military named an interim leader to head the country.
It was gathered that security guards had to intervene as talks between the opposition and the West African leaders broke down with emotions high over the possible involvement of Compaore loyalists in any new provisional government.
“We do not want to talk with the old governing party. They represent Blaise Compaore,” said Rose-Marie Compaore, parliamentary leader of the main opposition group, the Union for Progress and Change.
Both groups were later persuaded to return to the negotiations only for a new stand-off as members of the former ruling party in turn refused to sit down with them.
The opposition’s main leader Zephirin Diabre meanwhile objected to the west African leaders’ request for each group to submit three possible candidates for a transition government.
It is a “question of sovereignty,” said Diabre.
The negotiations had come on the eve of an emergency meeting in Accra of west African leaders, when Burkina Faso’s political crisis is to be discussed.
The army stepped in to fill the power vacuum left by Compaore, who was deposed by a violent popular uprising on Friday that some had likened to the Arab Spring after 27 years in power.
Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida, the interim leader appointed by Burkina Faso’s military, told unions on Tuesday that he would return the country to civilian rule within two weeks, a day after the African Union threatened sanctions if the army failed to relinquish power within that timeframe.
Meanwhile, latest reports on Thursday indicate that the three West African Presidents have been able to broker an agreement on a one-year political transition in Burkina Faso that would lead up to elections in Nov. 2015.
According to local media report, the agreement states that the military would hand power over to an eminent civilian personality to lead the transition.
The reports said political parties and civil society groups would be able to propose candidates for the post.
Culled from Naij.com