The events of 31st October 2014, leading to the popular uprising in Burkina Faso that removed Blaise Compaore from power, constitute a turning point for the entire region, and probably Africa as a whole.
The actions of the Burkinabe people have put to shame the doomsayers and naysayers that believe that only gloom can come out of Africa. They have shown the road that needs to be taken by the African people if they want peace, prosperity and progress. It is the road of popular struggle.
In the 1980s, the country of the upright people, gave to Africa one of its illustrious sons in the person of Thomas Sankara. Sankara embarked upon a programme of progressive reform that made Burkina Faso the envy of Africa and the world. After only a few years in office, Sankara was assassinated on 15th October 1987 by Compaore, who Sankara thought was a trusted friend and comrade. Compaore’s treachery not only terminated that bold experiment but took Burkina Faso back into what Kwame Nkrumah used to call “the gambling house of capitalism”.
The spirit of Sankara, legendary and charismatic leader, which would have transformed the continent if he had not left us so early, has triumphed during these recent events. The Burkinabe people in taking action against Compaore’s corrupt attempts to hang onto power have lived up to Thomas Sankara’s most famous maxim that “you can kill revolutionaries but you cannot kill ideas”.
Our ancestors struggled for the liberation of Africa from their colonial masters. They did what they could to gain political independence. They felt that by “seeking the political kingdom, all other things would come unto them”. However they failed to achieve total liberation, meaning the capacity to decide by themselves their own destiny without external interference.
The fundamental cause of failure of the mothers and fathers of our political independence was that many became complacent about the results of their struggle, and comfortable mimicking their old masters in the structures of exploitation of their compatriots, most of the time acting only as agents of the global imperialist system.
They chose to enjoy the gains that their new political status gave them, rather than addressed the critical requirements of a meaningful independence. They forgot that the drive that achieved independence had to continue even more, particularly because their old masters were doing everything to regain what they had lost in the process.
In today’s globalized context, like during the foregone past, any uphill gain that our people have achieved, imperialist forces have come together to jeopardise it. That popular uprising be genuine or engineered by outsiders, as seen, be it in Northern Africa or elsewhere in recent years, vigilance is of the essence.
The message that came from the youth on the streets of Ouagadougou to the rest of the continent was clear:
THIS IS A REVOLUTION BY THE YOUTH. DON'T EVER LET YOUR CONSTITUTION BE CHANGED TO ACCOMMODATE THE OPPRESSORS OF THE PEOPLE. WE DID IT. IT IS POSSIBLE ELSEWHERE TOO.
Despite the glorious movement of the Burkinabe people, much still needs to be done to ensure that the people’s victory is not stolen by reactionary forces, as has happened in the past. What is needed now is audacity, audacity and more audacity. We believe that the erosion of fundamental ethical values brought forth during the Sankara revolution such as the promotion of partnerships at national, continental and international levels to address the smothering effects of globalisation and the imposition of neo-liberal policies hinders the progress towards total liberation. Thus, to the Burkinabe people we say:
CONTINUE TO ORGANISE AT THE GRASSROOTS, SO THAT VICTORY COMES TO YOU AND NO ONE ELSE. WE AND THE WHOLE OF THE STRUGGLING HUMANITY ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT STAND FIRMLY BEHIND YOU IN SOLIDARITY!
We express our total agreement with the statement made by the Burkinabe opposition leaders and activists that says:
THE VICTORY BORN FROM THIS UPRISING BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE, AND THE TASK OF MANAGING THE TRANSITION FALLS BY RIGHT TO THE PEOPLE. IN NO CASE CAN IT BE CONFISCATED BY THE ARMY.
What also needs to be highlighted is what the rest of Africa, and Africans everywhere, should do to sustain progressive changes that continue to occur, ensuring they remain on the correct course leading to greater social justices for the masses of people.
In the next three years, at least twelve African countries are confronted with similar political situations as faced by Burkina Faso – Angola, Burundi, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Rwanda, Sudan, Togo and Uganda – where governments may resort to dubious or illegitimate means to stay in power against the will of the people for peaceful political alternatives. For some of these countries the process of struggle has already begun.
We join our voices to call for a gathering of all progressive forces across global Africa to make a stand in struggle and solidarity with the cause of the Burkinabe people who are still in danger of seeing their victory against neo-colonial oppression hijacked by reactionary forces.
Throughout the entire continent where dictators are still in charge, the African masses are learning from the recent Burkinabe political experience and are in total solidarity with the people of Burkina Faso for their historic achievement of ending a 27-year oppressive regime.
United in the continuing Pan-Africanist struggle of seeking the best for our people, we strongly support what our Burkinabe brothers and sisters have now achieved.
On behalf of the undersigned organisations:
1. All-Afrikan Students Union Link (Europe)
2. Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (UK)
3. Don't Be Blind This Time (Switzerland)
4. Global Afrikan Congress (UK)
5. Grassroots All-Afrikan Women's Sisterhood of the Grassroots Women's Internationalist Solidarity Action Network (UK)
6. Humanitarian Organisation Icumbi (Russia)
7. Interim National Afrikan People's Parliament (UK)
8. Ishema Party (Scotland)
9. Kilombo Network (Ghana and UK)
10. Moyo wa Taifa Pan Afrikan Women’s Solidarity Network (UK)
11. Organising for Africa (UK)
12. Organisation Sociale Africa Union (Russia)
13. Pan African Institute for Development (Ghana)
14. Pan-Afrikan Forum (Ghana)
15. Pan-Afrikan Liberation Solidarity International of the Global Justice Forum (UK)
16. Pan-Afrikan Network (Europe)
17. Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition (Europe)
18. Zimbabwe Pan Africanist Youth Agenda (Zimbabwe)
18th November 2014
London, United Kingdom