The leader of the Burkinabe opposition Zéphirin Diabré was invested Saturday, July 25 in Ouagadougou by his party, the Union for Progress and Change (UPC), candidate for the presidential election in November, promising a “Real change”. “The UPC activists gathered in an extraordinary congress proceeded to the nomination of the candidate Zephirin Diabré to the presidential election”, said party vice-president Denis Yaméogo, reading the minutes, after a vote by acclamation of the 5,000 activists gathered at the Ouagadougou sports center.
“I solemnly swear here and now to invest myself on your behalf, body and soul, in this fight for the rebirth of Burkina Faso”, said Mr. Diabré, 61, who is running for the supreme office for the second time. In the 2015 presidential election, he came second with 29.65% of the vote, beaten by current President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.
The latter is running for a second term, while Burkina Faso has gradually sank into jihadist violence, interwoven with inter-community conflicts, which have killed at least 1,100 since 2015 and forced nearly a million people to flee their homes. outbreaks in this poor West African country.
Former baron of the Compaoré regime
Once a haven of peace, the “Land of upright men” has become in five years a red zone where jihadist attacks are almost daily, and entire swathes of the territory now inaccessible. “Five years ago, the Burkinabés made the serious mistake of entrusting their destiny to the MPP (People’s movement for progress, current ruling party) and his allies “, said Mr. Diabré. “This country needs more than ever a new start, a new lease of life, a new vision”, hammered the opponent.
Like many Burkinabe political leaders, including the current President Roch Kaboré, Zéphirin Diabré was a baron of the Blaise Compaoré regime (1987-2014). Consultant in the field of energy and mining after his studies, he became Minister of Commerce, Industry and Mines from 1992 to 1994, then of Economy and Finance until 1996. He briefly took over presidency of the Economic and Social Council in 1996-1997.
His career then took an international turn: this economist trained in France at the Bordeaux Business School became Deputy Director General of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in New York, from 1999 to 2006, before moving on to in the private sector, as Africa and Middle East Director of the French mining group Areva (2006-2011).
“Save the country from the pangs of desolation”
It was then that he made his return to the Burkinabé political scene, founding in 2011 the Union for Progress and Change (UPC), an opposition party to the Compaoré regime. He won 19 deputies in the 2012 legislative elections and has since been the leader of the opposition. He will play a leading role during the fall of Compaoré.
On Saturday, the party’s women’s union spokeswoman Jacqueline Konaté called on Mr. Diabré to “Save the country from the pangs of desolation”, considering him alone “To unite all Burkinabé”. His candidacy is supported by “Generation Zeph 2020”, a movement bringing together around a hundred political parties and associations, as well as several coalitions of parties. The opposition, however, leaves divided in the presidential election, which is playing the game of President Kaboré, analysts say, despite his catastrophic record in the face of jihadist violence.
Among the other presidential candidates are many other former members of the Compaoré regime: the former Prime Minister Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, Gilbert Noël Ouédraogo, leader of a party formerly allied with Compaoré, or Eddie Komboïgo, the president of the Congress for democracy and progress (CDP), the former party of Compaoré. The other prominent applicants are Tahirou Barry, a minister who resigned from the first government of Kaboré, and the lawyer Abdoulaye Soma.