Namibia condemns coup d’état in Burkina Faso

> Magreth Nunuhe

Windhoek – Namibia has joined the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and other world bodies and nations in condemning the coup d’état on September 16, in Burkina Faso that disrupted a transition period for elections to be held next month.

In a statement, the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said as a member of the African Union, and current member of the Peace and Security Council, Namibia adheres firmly to the principle of zero tolerance to unconstitutional changes of government.

Burkina Faso has been under the leadership of an interim President, Mr Michel Kafando, following the overthrow of President Blaise Compaore in 2014 after 27 years in office.

But on September 16, 2015, soldiers from the elite presidential guard of Burkina Faso disrupted a cabinet meeting and abducted Mr Michel Kafando, the Interim President and Mr Isaac Zida, the Prime Minister. Subsequently, General Gilbert Diendere, the former Chief of Staff, was named the head of the Junta the following day, on 17 September 2015.

“Namibia fully supports the suspension of Burkina Faso by the African Union with immediate effect as proclaimed during its 544th meeting held on 18 September 2015, as well as the regional efforts to restore the Interim Government.

“The Government of the Republic of Namibia, therefore, calls for the reinstatement of the interim President Michel Kafando without delay to ensure that the transitional period proceeds smoothly, and that the country returns to Constitutional normalcy following democratic elections,” the ministry said.

Soldiers from the elite presidential guard (RSP) of Burkina Faso disrupted a cabinet meeting and abducted the interim President, Michel Kafando and the Prime Minister, Isaac Zida on 16 September 2015, and subsequently named General Gilbert Diendere, the former Chief of Staff, as head of the Junta the following day.

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) has also condemned the kidnapping and unlawful detention of the President of the Transition Kafando, Zida, and of some members of the Government.

They said the military coup “constitutes a terrorist act which should be dealt with as such by the entire international community”.

It further condemned the announcement by the military of the “dissolution” of the transitional institutions and the assumption of power by the army.

“Council totally rejects this announcement and underlines that the latter and all the measures taken by those who seized power by force in Burkina Faso are null and void.

Council stresses that the AU shall neither recognize nor support any process conducted outside the Transition launched in Burkina Faso in November 2014, and therefore demands a return to the status quo ante,” the AU said in a statement issued September 18.

The AU Peace and Security Council further stressed that the “perpetrators of the kidnapping of the transitional authorities and of their overthrow, as well as the elements involved in the repression against the demonstrators, shall be held accountable for their acts before the relevant national and international jurisdictions”.

It further demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Kafando, the Zida, and other members of the Government and decided to suspend, with immediate effect, the participation of Burkina Faso in all AU activities, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the AU Constitutive Act and of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

September 2015
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