The coup is over, but more than that is the amazing way it ended.
I found out more about Diendere. Last year, when Campaore fled but the people continued protesting because a military person declared that he was in charge of the government (the people wanted a civilian government), they stormed the Parliament building. Diendere (top guy in charge) gave the RSP the command to open fire on the demonstrators, however Zida (second in command) refused to pass that order along, and instead had the RSP step aside while the people burned down the building. It wasn’t until the Mogho Naba (and I believe, some leaders of neighboring countries) stepped in and told the people there would be a civilian government appointed for the transition that the rioting stopped.
But people did not forget what Diendere had done.
So when he took the government this past week, it opened a lot of old wounds. The people were NOT willing to accept any terms of compromise that left him in power or left a military government in charge. They had fought too hard and lost so much to get where they are now, and even though compromises were in the works from mediators the other day, the people were having none of it.
The big wild card was ‘what will the army do’. But what happened (as I mentioned), was the army came to town, took up positions AGAINST the RSP, Diendere fled to the Mogho Naba and was advised to stand down, then neighboring Heads of State came in and advised the same.After one night of uncomfortable standoffs, Diendere capitulated. He has made several statements, saying:
- He had only the best interest of democracy for Burkina Faso in mind (he did not believe it was fair to prohibit old CDP members from running)
- He accepts that the will of the people is against him, so
- The RSP is withdrawing to a military camp outside of town
- The Gendarmie are withdrawing to a position 75 km outside of town
- The RSP will inventory their weapons, and turn them all over to the Gendarmie
- Diendere has surrendered all power back to the Interim government, with the exception that Zida must not be involved (not sure about the other military cabinet members).
- CDP members who did not attempt to change the Constitution to enable Compaore to remain in power are eligible to run
- Diendere will accept responsibility for any deaths caused to civilians by soldiers under his command during the coup.
So in the end, THE PEOPLE WON because they refused to accept the initial terms of compromise. It looks like (barring any kind of ‘bump in the road’) that there will be free and fair elections for a civilian government for the first time in the history of Burkina Faso, without Compaore or his compatriots (who are known to rig elections).
The only thing left up in the air at the moment is the fate of the RSP. But by being disarmed and isolated, it appears that they will be reassigned to other roles within the military.
Anyway….is really a fantastic story. Glad I had a chance to live through it.