Category Archives: Politics

Blaise Compaoré Steps Down as Burkina Faso President, Ceding to Protesters

After violent protests in which demonstrators set fire to Parliament and surged through the streets in a wave of dissent, Blaise Compaoré, the president of Burkina Faso, said Friday that he had stepped down after 27 years in office, according to news reports from the West African nation.

Reuters reported that a heavily armed convoy carrying the president was seen leaving the capital and heading south toward Po, near the border with Ghana, even as his resignation announcement was being read out on television. It was not clear who would replace him.

The announcement came on the fourth day of turmoil in Ouagadougou, the capital, which culminated in a closed-door gathering of military commanders.

Mr. Compaoré had offered negotiations on a transitional government leading to the election of a successor. But opposition leaders urged their followers on Friday to “keep up the pressure,” rejecting his blandishments and calling for his immediate ouster — “pure and simple.”

Earlier on Friday, huge crowds gathered in Ouagadougou, where senior army officers met to decide their next step. One officer, who was not identified by name, told protesters that the “army is henceforth at the side of the people.”

News agencies quoted an announcement from the president as saying he had stepped down in face of the protests and calling for elections within 90 days.

Overnight, the president said he had “heard the message” from the protesters and understood “the strong desire for change.”

In a televised statement late Thursday, Mr. Compaoré rescinded a declaration of martial law, made only hours earlier, and offered negotiations on “a transitional period at the end of which I will hand over power to the democratically elected president.”

He also abandoned plans to change the Constitution in order to run for office again next year — the issue that has ignited days of protest. But he rejected calls for his immediate resignation.

On Friday, protesters in the capital of this impoverished West African nation urged the military to sweep Mr. Compaoré from office. Demonstrators looted at least two banks and ransacked many stores, residents said.

Opposition politicians appealed to their followers to “keep up the pressure by systematically occupying the public space.”

Rejecting Mr. Compaoré’s offer of talks, 34 opposition groups also said the “precondition for any discussion of a political transition is the unconditional departure, pure and simple, of Mr. Blaise Compaoré.”

Opposition to the president’s plans for another term had been building for weeks.

Anger exploded Thursday as protesters stormed the Parliament building, bursting past police lines to prevent lawmakers from voting on a draft law that would have allowed Mr. Compaoré to run again next year.

Thousands rampaged through Ouagadougou, burning the homes of presidential aides and relatives and looting state broadcasting facilities. Social media sites showed images of demonstrators toppling a statue of Mr. Compaoré.

The violence set off a series of decrees from the embattled president, who declared martial law, permitting the military to suspend both the Parliament and the government, and to inaugurate a 12-month transition to elections under an interim government.

Opposition leaders called his actions a coup.

In his statement late Thursday, Mr. Compaoré, a former army officer who seized power in a coup in 1987 and ranks among Africa’s longest-serving leaders, said that the government would remain “dissolved,” but that martial law would be “canceled.”

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Burkina Faso Parliament set ablaze after members tried to elongate president’s stay in office

Anti-government protesters in Burkina Faso today set their National parliament ablaze following a decision by members of parliament to review the country’s constitution to allow President Blaise Compaore extend his 27-year rule. The parliament members were due to vote on a change on their constitution which would allow the sitting president, Blaise Compaore – who took power in a coup in 1987 – to stand for re-election again next year, when he was due to stand down.

The angry protesters who did not buy into the proposed constitution review stormed the National Assembly building in the capital Ouagadougou, ransacking offices and setting fire to cars, before attacking the national television headquarters. At least one person died in the mayhem. 

One of the protesters said;

“We did this because Blaise was trying to stay too long. We are tired of him. We want a change. He must go!”
The violence forced the government to temporarily scrap a vote on the constitutional amendments. Relative calm has since returned to the capital city.

I am Africa’s first white democratic leader, says Zambian vice-president

Zambia reverted to white rule on Wednesday when a Cambridge-educated economist became acting president of the country after the death of the incumbent.

Guy Scott, previously vice-president, was promoted to the top job after the demise of Michael Sata on Tuesday.

Mr Scott, 70, became the first white leader of an African country since FW de Klerk stepped down as president of South Africa in 1994 – and the first white head of a democratic government in Africa “since the Venetians”.

Mr Scott, who will serve for 90 days until a new election is held, told the Telegraph that his sudden promotion was “a bit of a shock to the system”, but added: “I’m very proud to be entrusted with it.”

Mr Sata, 77, died on Tuesday at the King Edward VII Hospital in West London.

Until his death, the acting president of Zambia was Edga Lungu, the defence minister, but Mr Scott said he had stepped into the position, in accordance with the constitution.

“I am the acting president at the moment. It has just been passed by cabinet,” he said. This made him Africa’s first white president of a democratic government ever “except maybe the Venetians in the days when they ran the world,” he added.

Mr Scott described this as a “bit of a shock to the system,” adding: “Everyone is getting used to calling me ‘Your Excellency’, and I’m getting used to it. There are truckloads of guys following me on motorbikes. It’s very strange.”

Asked why he thought he had been chosen by the cabinet to be Zambia’s interim leader, he pointed to his “seniority within the party, in government”, adding:

“The president kept me as his vice-president despite a lot of efforts by people to get me taken down. And I happened to be there when he died.”

He said that he last spoke to Mr Sata, who flew to London almost two weeks ago, several days ago. Asked if he had told him he wanted him to take over the presidency, he said: “He would never be so polite as to do that. But he said he was happy that I was there, to take over if needed.”

Mr Lungu confirmed Mr Scott’s appointment on Wednesday: “Dr Scott will act as president of the Republic of Zambia until the country goes for a presidential by election”.

Under a clause in the constitution which dictates that only those whose parents were born in Zambia can be president, Mr Scott’s promotion is expected to last no longer than 90 days. “I won’t run for the presidency at the election because constitutionally, I can’t,” he said.

Zambia, formerly the British Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, achieved independence in 1964.

The colourful and plain-speaking Mr Scott is popular among his countrymen.

As the agriculture minister he was credited with steering his country out of a food crisis prompted by a drought in the early 1990s.

He was born in Livingstone, Zambia, but his father was from Glasgow and emigrated to Northern Rhodesia in 1927, where he worked for as a doctor on Cecil Rhodes’ railway, then a politician fighting for African rights, a lawyer and a newspaper publisher.

Mr Scott’s mother was from Watford and moved to Zambia in 1940. Mr Scott studied mathematics and economics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, gained a doctorate in cognitive science from Sussex University and lectured and researched robotics at Oxford.

Two of his sons live in Britain, his daughter is studying there and another son works in Zambia.

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe turns 90, says not retiring yet

Zimbabwe’s longest serving president, Robert Mugabe turned 90 today and in his address to his party faithfuls, said he’s not ready to vacate the president’s sit yet

“When the day comes and I retire, yes, sure, the day will come, but I do not want to leave my party in tatters. I want to leave it intact”

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Mugabe has said that he would leave when he is 94years old, that would be in 2018, after completing his current tenure which he was elected for last year.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 34 years now since the country gained independence. He is the longest serving President in the whole of Africa and is also the oldest president Africa has ever had.

Governor Adams Oshiomole splashes N14million on seven widows

Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo state today donated N14million (N2million each) to seven police officer’s widows who died in the line of duty. Addressing the women, the governor said he was moved by their plight as well as the great service their husbands gave to the state. He also announced that N500,000 would be given to each of the children of the seven police officers.

The Governor said he hoped this act would help spur other police officers who are still in active force to be more dedicated to their duties so that posterity would remember them for good.

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur resigns

According to PUNCH

Embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has resigned,

A senior member of the divided National Working Committee of the party, who spoke with a PUNCH correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday , said President Goodluck Jonathan will inform the meeting of the National Caucus of the party tonight in Abuja about the development.

With the resignation, Tukur has escaped being suspended from the party by the members of the NWC if had refused to resign.

If he had refused to resign, Tukur was to be suspended by about eight members of the NWC, while the National Executive Committee of the party would ratify his suspension on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan is said to be scheming to instal Tukur’s successor.

The First Lady is said to be rooting for the appointment of the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar.

His ministry is said to be under indirect supervision of the First Lady.

However, the governors are resisting the move.

Obasanjo sends letter to PDP withdrawing from party activities

Just when we thought we had seen the last of all these political drama than a new one pops out of nowhere!!!!!!

In the letter, Obasanjo said although he is still a card carrying member of the party, he will withdraw his activities with PDP at local, state, zonal and national level until a person he describes as a criminal wanted abroad to face criminal charges is removed as the party’s South West zonal leader.

Obasanjo proceeded to add that he was forwarding with the letter, “recent documents” on the alleged activities of the person. The letter, dated January 7th, was obtained by Tribune. See letter below