BLAISE COMPAORE AND THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE
BY UBAKA OKOFU
For the family and supporters of Thomas Sankara, the slain head of the Conseil National Revolutionnaire that seized power in Upper Volta in 1984, the saying that ‘the wheels of justice grind slowly, but exceedingly fine’ cannot be truer. 11th of October has been fixed by the Burkinabe’s authorities for the trials of all those who were directly or indirectly involved in the tragic murder of Thomas Sankara. The delay is bringing to book all those involved in the assassination of the 37 years old military Head of State who changed the name of his country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso to extinguish the silhouette of imperialism over his country has shown that justice delay might not be denial in all cases.
Blaise Compaore and his accomplices in the murder of Sankara, the slain Head of State of Burkina Faso are to face trial 34years after the 37-year old Head of State was brutally murdered inside the Conseil De L’ Entente during a cabinet meeting which Compaore ought to have been in attendance but was absent. The military prosecutor in Ouagadougou had announced 11th of October, 2021 for the commencement of the trial for all those who had hands in the murder at the Conseil De L’ Entente.
It should be noted that arrest warrants were first issued against Blaise Compaore and others in 2016. But, the arrest of Compaore had not been forthcoming. Compaore flee Ouagadougou to Cote d’ Ivoire in 2014 after a mass insurrection against him. Since then, Blaise Compaore had been living in that country, and it has also been difficult to extradite Blaise Compaore and Hycinth Kafando-another of his accomplice in the Sankara’s murder to answer to charges of attack on state security, complicity in killing Sankara and others and complicity in receiving corpses of those slain.
Thomas Sankara was murdered on the 15th of October, 1987 inside the Conseil De L’ Entente in what was seen as a senseless assassination and never as a coup. The account of Alouna Traore, the only survival of all seventeen Cabinet members during a cabinet meeting had revealed that the attackers were out to kill Sankara and seize power from him. However tragic was that they shot at an innocent man who had surrendered to them. It was expected that unarmed Thomas Sankara ought to have been taken captive and tried for whatever offense he was alleged to have committed in the latter’s short stay in office. But, because Blaise Compaore was blinded by greed and inordinate ambition to rule over the Burkinabes, he threw decency to the air and ended the life of Thomsa Sankara in its prime.
It’s dolorous to note that Blaise Compaore was a Minister of state in the Sankara led Conseil National Revolutionnaire government of Burkina faso and both leaders were intimately inseparable. Incidentally, Compaore was absent in the said cabinet meeting which turned out to be the last for Sankara.
Compaore knew the routine of his boss-Sankara. He knew that the best time to kill Sankara was in the evening of Thursday the 15th of October, 1987 when the latter and his security routine would be unarmed. Thursday evenings for slain Sankara were for sporting activities. The slain leader was barely done with an emergency cabinet meeting at Conseil De L’ Entente in Ouagadrugou when he met his waterloo alongside sixteen others.
The murder of Sankara threw Burkinabes in bereavement. The slain leader was loved by his people especially the poor Burkinabes that saw Sankara as the messiah who was going to take their country out of the woods. Changing the name of his country from Upper Volta to Burkina faso to end the sombre memories of colonialism was seen as the right step in the right direction for the country. In a very short period, Sankara was able to address the illiteracy problem of his country. With a marshalled programme, the literacy rate was upped from 13% to 75%. Sankara’s anti corruption crusade was thorough and unbiased.
Without any doubt, Burkinabes would have nothing in return for the brutal murder of Thomas Sankara but to see Blaise Compaore and others punished for the heinous crime they committed against the people of Burkina Faso 34 years ago.
Statue in honour of the slain Sankara