THOMAS SANKARA

THOMAS SANKARA THE PRIDE OF BURKINA FASO

FOCUSE: THOMAS SANKARA NATIONALITY: BURKINA FASO (BURKINABE) OCCUPATION: MILITARY PERSONNEL AND POLITICIAN PLACE OF BIRTH: YAKO, UPPER VOLTA DATE OF BIRTH: 21ST DECEMBER, 1949 PLACE OF DEATH: OUAGADOUGOU DATE OF DEATH: 15TH OCTOBER, 1987 NOTABLE HISTORICAL EVENT OF THOMAS SANKARA: HE CHANGE THE COUNTRY’S NAME FROM UPPER VOLTA (COLONIAL NAME) TO BURKINA FASO WHICH MEANS “THE LAND OF UPRIGHT PEOPLE” INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE: “POWER TO THE PEOPLE, STRENGTH TO THE PEOPLE, GLORY TO THE PEOPLE” When Thomas Sankara became the President, the level of educated people were just at the rate of 10% of the total population of the country UPPER VOLTA. The level of infant mortality of the Nation was high. He came up with a new policy of two meals and 10liters of water a day per person in Burkina Faso. He was able to build so many primary infrastructures like roads, schools, hospitals etc. Sankara earns $450 U.S dollars a month during his time in office as the president of Burkina Faso. It was recorded that Thomas Sankara also sold all the fleets of Mercedes Cars in the government House and use the money for the development of Burkina Faso. According to a member of his cabinet Ernest Ouedraogo (Minister for Security), he stated that Thomas Sankara’s initial plan was to attach two ministers to a car but after so much deliberations, he changed his policy and assigned a car to a minister. Report also stated that he made a clear announcement regarding international flights that “no matter the situation, non of his ministers should never board a first class package rather an economical package in a plane because when the plane goes off, both first class, economy and other plane packages all go up and when the plane lands, they all land” Thomas Sankara made it clear to the people of Western World that he would not be told what to do by them or accept aid from them, both he and his country people are fine with what they have and the resources are very much in adequate quantity for them to use and re-build Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara renamed UPPER VOLTA (The name given to it by their colonial Nation France) which was given to them as a result of their submissive lifestyle and dependant way of life to “BURKINA FASO” meaning “THE LAND OF UPRIGHT PEOPLE”. Historical reports states that neighboring countries to Burkina Faso come to the country to get people who will work and build respective countries. • THOMAS SANKARA AND BLAISE COMPAORE' S RELATIONSHIP. While in the military school, Thomas Sankara met with Blaise Compaore who was also an activist. They both became great friends with the same political ideology. At the age of 20, Thomas Sankara was sent Madagascar for Official Training in 1970. It was there he witnessed the uprising of students and workers who succeeded the government of Madagascar. • THOMAS SANKARA AND BLAISE COMPAORE’S PLOTTED COUP. As a result of the protest and breakdown of labour unions and also the disruption of political activities as a result of series of plotted and successful Coup. The people of Burkina Faso wanted a person who could hear their cries and respond quickly to them before they know it. Thomas Sankara was the people’s choice but he did not have interest in politics but because of the steady request of the people that he should lead them, he had to take up the responsibility. While he was under house arrest, as a result of dispute between him and the President, a group of revolutionaries seized power on his behalf in a popularly-supported coup later that year and on the 4th of August, 1983, Thomas Sankara and Blaise Compaore took over power. • THE COUP AGAINST THOMAS SANKARA Four years after the successful Coup, the citizens of Burkina Faso as well as his ministers were beginning to be suspicious of the secret plans of Blaise in taking over the government from Thomas Sankara. When reports got to Thomas Sankara on what they felt about Blaise Compaore, he ignored because he felt the trust between him and Blaise Compaore could never be betrayed and the people were only feeling insecure with their friendship. Thomas Sankara political allies triggered his anti-imperialist policy and put him in a negative view globally. This act made the Colonial Nation “France” support his assassination, so that Blaise Compaore who happened to be more loyal to the allies politically and economically could step in as the new President of Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara was killed in Ouagadougou (the nation's capital) when he was a meeting with his cabinet on 15TH OCTOBER 1987 at the age of 37. After his death, Thomas Sankara's body was taken to the hospital for autopsy and the doctor told the Nation that Thomas Sankara died of natural cause and not from the coup. Blaise Compaore took over power immediately after the death of Thomas Sankara and ruled for 27years. According to Burkina Faso History, Blaise Compaore changed the constitutional view regarding elections in 1991 stating “a ruling candidate can contest for four consecutive terms” Statistics have it that 47% of Burkinabe citizens were living in poverty under his reign. In the year 2014, Blaise Compaore tried to re-visit and change the electoral section of the Constitution to making it a candidate can contest for 5 political terms in office. When the youth saw all that was going on, they broke their silence of 27 years and were protesting in the street if Burkina Faso mostly especially in the government house in Ouagadougou (the Nation’s capital). The people all believed that anybody who rules for over two- three decades forcefully should not be termed as a democratic individual but rather a “Dictator”. This protest brought back the memories of Thomas Sankara as his portraits were all over the street during the period of the protest and as a result of that, many believed that Thomas Sankara spirit had given them the zeal and also led them in the protest against Blaise Compaore's rule.

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