Blaise Compaore Sentenced To Life For Murder Of His Predecessor
The Burkino Faso ex-president Blaise Compaore has finally been handed a life imprisonment sentence by a military tribunal in connection with murdering his own predecessor Thomas Sankara in a coup in 1987. The sentenced was announced in absentia. Most of the power struggle has only happened after one or the other coup. Compaore will be accompanied by two of his former top associates, Hyacinthe Kafando and Gilbert Diendere, in sharing a life imprisonment.
Thomas was a 37 years young charismatic Marxist revolutionary who was gunned down in the West African nation’s capital Ouagadougou at the age of 37, four years after he took power in a previous putsch. Of the 13 accused of involved, three now stand under sentence. Three others were acquitted of charges while the rest 11 have received prison terms of between three and 20 years.
Believed to be living on the Ivory Coast, the ghost of his previous crimes has come Compaore haunting. Post snatching leadership off Sankara, Compaore rule successfully for 27 years before being ousted in another coup in 2014. While his whereabouts remains uncertain, he has been pronounced guilty of an attack on state security, complicity in murder and concealment of a corpse, the tribunal said in its ruling.
Considered a splitting image of Cuba’s famous revolutionary leader Che Guevara, Sankara was a natural leader and people’s person. A former pilot, he created many programmes for the benefit of the people and promised to rid the country of corruption. That promise to thwart corruption and post-colonial influences got him a seat on the table. He also promised to denounce foreign aid as a control mechanism. Towards his leadership goals, he rolled out successfully, mass vaccination against polio, banned female circumcision and polygamy, and was one of the first African leaders to publicly recognize the growing AIDS epidemic as a threat for the continent.
A former fighter pilot, Sankara won public support in the impoverished nation by selling a government fleet of Mercedes, lowering the pay of well-off public servants and forbidding first class state travel. He cut his own salary, refused to work with air conditioning and jogged through Ouagadougou unaccompanied.