Burkina Faso has a draft deal to end the coup—but that doesn’t mean order will be restored

“Bring power back to the people.”
“Bring power back to the people.”
Image: Reuters/Joe Penney
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Burkina Faso may be a step closer to resolving the coup that erupted last week Thursday, but it is unlikely that the country will return to civilian rule anytime soon. Reuters reports that Macky Sall, Senegalese president and chief mediator, announced a draft deal intended to restore order in the West African country yesterday (Sep. 20) after talks with General Gilbert Diendéré—leader of the powerful presidential guard that led the coup.

The draft deal proposes that the president of the interim government, Michael Kafando, returns to power, and that the presidential and legislative elections in the West African country be postponed till November 22nd—from the original date of October 11th. The draft deal also proposes that General Gilbert Diendéré and the presidential guard under his control be granted amnesty for their acts committed during the coup, on condition that they return power to transitional government authorities.

To appease electoral candidates aligned with former president Blaise Compaore, the draft deal also calls for Burkina Faso’s new electoral code—one that prohibits members of the previous government from running for political office—to be set aside.

But the draft deal proposed by the mediators will not immediately resolve the impasse in Burkina Faso and restore civilian rule.

Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal (paywall) report that Diendéré, wants to remain in power until the November 22nd elections, despite the draft deal, a situation that would make any resolution of the coup difficult.

On Friday, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) issued a stern statement warning that it would institute travel bans and asset freezes on perpetrators the coup should the transitional government not be reinstated in 96 hours (Sept. 22.).

Diendéré will not give power back easily, and the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas)—the mediating body—will soon run out of options, Bat-Et-Ohayon, a political analyst with Afrique Consulting Group, wrote in the Daily Maverick this morning.

“While the AU and Ecowas have made their opposition to the coup known, suspending Burkina Faso from the union and with the latter acting as mediator, they are unlikely to be able to reverse this coup. Thus, through allowing for the continuation of the RSP [the presidential guard that led the coup], mediators will in fact restore the core of power to those allied to Compaore, possibly inflaming popular opposition.”

All eyes will be tomorrow’s Ecowas meeting, were Senegalese president and chief mediator, Macky Sall, will present the draft deal to West African heads of states to solicit their support to get Burkina Faso back on path for its democratic transition process.