Burkina Faso Analysis: The 27-Year Itch
Burkina Faso has suddenly grabbed the world’s attention with a remarkable popular uprising, in which hundreds of thousands of Burkinabé have forced the resignation of long-serving president Blaise Compaoré.
Commentators immediately began to predict that the events could touch off a movement in other states where presidents have outstayed their welcome.
However, the idea that the actions will quickly be paralleled in other African countries does not give due credit to Burkina Faso’s very particular past and political culture. This uprising is part of a long history of mass public protests in a nation with a very strong and active civil society.
The recent events resonate with many of the country’s most significant political changes. Ever since it became independent in 1960, when it was called Upper Volta, Burkina Faso’s politics have run along these lines.