The world may well be witnessing another African revolution.
After ousting President Blaise Campaore (pictured below) one week ago in a two-day uprising that included setting fire to parliament and storming the country’s state-run television station, citizens inBurkina Faso are now working to forge a new government for their country.
What some are calling the Black spring, inspired by insurrections in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Libya during the 2011 Arab spring, could be a force that rolls through Africa and ushers in a new era of leadership throughout the continent.
While Burkina Faso is a small francophone country that few would likely be able to find on a map, the West African nation’s popular rebellion may be the catalyst for a wave of revolt poised to take numerous countries.
“This is a ‘sub-Saharan Spring’ and it must continue against all the presidents who are trying to hang on to power in Africa,” Burkinabe student Lucien Trinnou told Reuters on Friday.
The protests began when Campaore sought to amend the country’s constitution to allow himself a third presidential term, after 27 years in office.
The constitution allows only two five-year terms, but Campaore had already served as president since 1987 when he took power in a military coup. His regime was often accused of corruption and authoritarian rule and had made itself virtually impossible to defeat in an election by using coercion, repression, and fraud to stack elections in his favor.
In recent years, says Ernest Harsch, a research scholar at the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University, the government had also been accused of forcing businesses to contribute quite lavishly to Campaore and his political allies, giving them the ability to outspend any potential challengers, which often meant simply buying them out of the race.