The first speech of Burkina Faso’s new military leader was followed by millions. Many saw parallels with the country’s charismatic 1980s military leader, Thomas Sankara, who was assassinated during a coup in 1987. Lt-Col Damiba, wearing a red beret like Sankara, used much of the same rhetoric and phrases such as “dignity”, “integrity”, “anthem of victory”, “homeland or death” and “we shall overcome”.However, some regretted the lack of concrete proposals, and the “moral lesson” tone of the delivery, conveying expectations of goodwill on the part of the international community and intentions that were already known. “If the intention was to participate in the fight against terrorism, it should have been discussed first. Luckily, it is still possible to express oneself in Burkina,” wrote one social media user. According to political analyst Luc Damiba (no relation to the president), this first speech gives hope, but people are waiting for concrete action.The new Burkinabè leader made clear that the priority of the country was security and not a rushed return to the normal constitutional order and elections. This is no doubt what West African leaders will insist on at their meeting later on Friday, meaning tensions are likely to increase, as has been the case with neighbouring Mali.
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