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Exposing Corruption In The Army: Billionaire Officer Immunity

Since the accession of the military to power on January 24, 2022, the political class has borne, rightly or wrongly, the burden of the crisis situation in Burkina Faso. Forced to provide a minimum service, the political class does not lack arguments against those who want to bring to it, on its own, all the flaws of Burkina. In an interview he gave to colleagues from Jeune Afrique on the situation in the country, the former leader of the political opposition in Burkina Faso and former Minister of State in charge of national reconciliation and social cohesion , Zéphirin Diabré, appreciates, in the direct and precise style for which he is known, Burkinabe news through several of its sections.

Asked to comment on the accusations made by the army, and Captain Traoré in particular, of the political class being corrupt and incapable of dealing with insecurity, “Zèph” first observed that if the populations welcomed the January 24 coup d’etat with some relief, thinking that the arrival of the military at the top of the state would make it possible to quickly defeat terrorism…, the observation today is that the security situation is deteriorating.

On the issue of corruption, the former leader of the political opposition in Burkina Faso takes power Ibrahim Traoré with the words: “As for the supposed incapacity of the political class and the need to have recourse to the army … I find the argument curious in a country where soldiers, from General Lamizana to Captain Traoré, ruled the state for more than 50 of the 62 years of independence. Our country is in its ninth successful coup and, in six of these putsches, soldiers overthrew other soldiers.

President Ibrahim Traoré Denounced Corruption Within The Army

When he took power, President Ibrahim Traoré denounced corruption within the army. He even said that there were billionaires in his midst. The public applauded. But to date, none of these famous billionaire officers has been arrested. At the same time, the revelations that appeared in the press on the supposed mismanagement carried out by the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR) led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, overthrown by Traoré and his men, leave really flabbergasted. (…). Defeating terrorism has nothing to do with whether power is civilian or military. It is conditioned to governance, to the sacred union of citizens, civilians and soldiers, in the same fight. In an organized and well-governed country, the military does not need to be in power to win a war.”

On the question of the elections to be held in 2024, the president of the UPC thinks that the priority today concerns the security situation. “That said, as any transition ends with elections, a timetable is needed, even indicative. This is also a commitment made to ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States). And donors, who will inevitably be called upon when the time comes, need this calendar to prepare. So far, there has been no direct and formal meeting between the political class and the MPSR 2. The activities of political parties have also been suspended. What troubles me is the inconsistency of the MPSR and its champions who complain about the silence and lack of support from political parties, even as the activities of political parties are suspended! You can’t want one thing and its opposite…”, he relativizes.

Anti-Political Feeling in Burkina

On the French anti-political feeling in Burkina, which is reflected in particular by the request for the departure of the special forces and the ambassador Luc Halladé, Zéhirin Diabré affirms that France is caught up in its history and its policy. “At the time of independence, she decided to leave French-speaking Africa while retaining a certain control over its former colonies, unlike the United Kingdom which cut the umbilical cord. The problem of Paris comes from this desire to preserve its “pre-square” and to maintain its zone of influence. This has led to all kinds of interference in African political affairs, to compromises with unsavory leaders, to military interventions to save dictators in danger or to install allies.

This has also led France to want maintain a monetary link which appears, in the eyes of its critics, as an annuity… Even if France defends itself and affirms that certain things are the result of practices of a Françafrique that has now disappeared, its image is nonetheless associated with a form of neocolonialism. And, to tell the truth, France is struggling to get rid of the paternalism and attitudes that border on the arrogance and infantilization of its African partners”, analyzes the former Africa and Middle East director of the French group AREVA.

Like a sort of indigestion, the president of the UPC recalls this controversial gesture (joke considered contemptuous) of President Macron towards the Burkinabè president: “Look at how President Macron behaved with his counterpart Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, during of his speech at the University, in 2017! “.

Worse still, continues Mr. Diabré, France has this propensity to snoop in the African backwater to try to influence things, especially on the political level. “This is what he is accused of at regular intervals”, he underlines, specifying that the French military presence is increasingly decried by public opinion which does not understand it and who doubt its effectiveness in the fight against terrorism.

Speaking of cooperation in the fight against the terrorist phenomenon, Zéphirin Diabré thinks that the only valid solution to stem terrorism is the commitment of Burkinabè. To this end, he salutes the “frankness” of President Ibrahim Traoré through his view of the current situation of attacks, appreciates the new strategy being deployed (reorganization of the army, recruitment of Volunteers for the defense of the homeland ) and encourages the fighting forces on the ground. “Everything else, including help from foreign countries, can only be complementary. It is also, for our Sahelian states, knowing how to seize this opportunity to build real arms industries”, advises the political leader.

This article is originally published on lefaso.net

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