Burkinabe opposition figures reject posts in new government

Burkinabe opposition figures reject posts in new government

Monday, November 24, 2014 5:09 am

Michel Kafando: first cabinet meeting at 10.00 a.m today

Michel Kafando: first cabinet meeting at 10.00 a.m today

No opposition figures are among the members of Burkina’s Faso’s new interim cabinet which meets for the first time Monday.

Reports said they stood-off because of the rule that bars any member of the new cabinet from taking part in next year’s elections.

In the new cabinet, headed by veteran diplomat Michel Kafando, the military are retaining powerful posts three weeks after the army took over in the wake of a popular revolt.

Military strongman Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida will remain prime minister and also take the defence minister post, officials said Sunday. The military will likewise have control of the interior ministry, announced Alain Thierry Ouattara, the new government secretary general.

In all, four military members are included in the 26-member cabinet. Interim civilian President Michel Kafando will double up as foreign minister.

Kafando, a former diplomat, took office on Friday to steer the west African nation for a transitional 12-month period after veteran president Blaise Compaore was toppled in a wave of popular unrest last month. The military has pledged to help bring the country back to full civilian rule.-

Some civil society representatives have voiced concern over Zida’s appointment, and some residents of Ouagadougou called it a betrayal of their “revolution”.

“This is a government of technicians, we didn’t expect anything else,” said senior opposition figure Ablasse Ouedraogo.

Another politician, who asked not to be named, said the interim executive would not have time for political battles.

“We expect them to put the country back on its feet through hard work,” he said.

Zida, 49, was appointed premier by Kafando on Wednesday, three weeks after longtime leader Compaore fled the country under pressure from mass protests.

Chosen after negotiations between political parties, the army and civil society, Kafando has emphasised his “humility” as a figure entrusted with “power that belongs to the people”.

Kafando has pledged he will not let his landlocked nation of 17 million people become a “banana republic”.

He vowed to punish those responsible for excesses during the 27-year rule of Compaore, who was close to slain Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi and Liberian warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, currently jailed for war crimes.

“We will settle accounts with all those who have abused justice and who think they can syphon off public funds,” Kafando said.

“The message of the people is clear and we have heard it,” he said. “No more injustice, no more chaos, no more corruption.”

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