WASHINGTON, DC —Latest classified information reaching Globe Afrique confirms that the murder of the late head of state of Burkina Faso, Captain Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, and others is soon to be fully investigated in hopes of initiating international prosecution of those involved.
According to Globe Afrique’s research, Sankara and twelve officials were murdered on October 15, 1987, by an armed group in a coup d’état organized by his former colleague Blaise Compaoré.
Video Credit: Faces Of Africa – Sankara’s Ghost
According to sources, the murder and subsequent overthrow of Sankara was mainly engineered in an effort for Burkina Faso to host and provide training base for various rebel groups intended for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia, but the leader of the plot to assassinate the Burkinabe leader, Captain Blaise Compaoré, stated that Sankara jeopardized foreign relations with former colonial power France and neighboring Ivory Coast, a nation which was used as the frontier for the destabilization of Liberia.
Prince Johnson, a former Liberian warlord allied to Charles Taylor, informed Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that Sankara’s murder and overthrow was engineered by imprisoned Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor and his financial and political supporters, some of whom were prominent Liberians and members of the Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia (ACDL).
Sources say Sankara’s body was dismembered and quickly buried in an unmarked grave while his widow Mariam and their two children fled the country.
Viewed largely by his supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure in Africa, Sankara is commonly referred to as “Africa’s Che Guevara,” He seized power in a popularly-supported coup in 1983 at thirty-three and pursued a goal of eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power.
In furtherance of reforming his country, he put in place an ambitious and one of the most sustainable and progressive programs for social and economic change ever attempted on the continent of Africa as well as renamed his country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (“Land of Upright Man”). His foreign policies were focused on anti-imperialism and his government eschewing all foreign aid, pushed for a revolting debt reduction, nationalized all land and mineral wealth and averted the power and influence of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
His domestic policies were centered on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency, land reform, prioritization of education with a nationwide literacy campaign and the promotion public health by vaccinating 2,500,000 children against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles.
Other aspects of his national agenda involved planting over 10,000,000 trees to stop the growing desertification of the Sahel, doubling wheat production by redistributing land from feudal landlords to peasants, suspending rural poll taxes and domestic rents, and establishing an ambitious road and railway construction program to “tie the nation together.”
At the local level, Sankara is said to have urged every village in his country to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities build schools with their own labor. He also is said to have had a serious dedication and commitment to women’s right which led him to ban the practice of female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and polygamy, while simultaneously offering senior-level positions to women in his government and encouraging girls to stay in school, even if pregnant.
Sankara, who ruled Burkina Faso from 1983 until his assassination in 1987, encouraged his countrymen and women and all Africans to expressed solidarity with one another as a people, country, and continent. His solidarity activities included the following:
- He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.
- He reduced the salaries of well-off public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
- He redistributed land from the feudal landlords to the peasants. Wheat production increased from 1,700 kilograms per hectare (1,500 lb/acre) to 3,800 kilograms per hectare (3,400 lb/acre), making the country food self-sufficient.
- He opposed foreign aid, saying that “he who feeds you, controls you.” He spoke in forums like the Organization of African Unity against what he described as neo- penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance.
- He called for a united front of African nations to repudiate their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited did not have an obligation to repay money to the rich and exploiting.
- In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country).
- He forced well-off civil servants to pay one month’s salary to public projects.
- He refused to use the air conditioning in his office because such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabes.
- As President, he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer.
His style of leadership was unique and motivational. He inspired the following his countrymen and women:
- He required public servants to wear a traditional tunic, woven from Burkinabe cotton and sewn by Burkinabe craftsmen.
- He was known for jogging unaccompanied through Ouagadougou in his tracksuit and posing in his tailored military fatigues, with his mother-of-pearl pistol.
- When asked why he didn’t want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm for other African leaders, Sankara replied: “There are seven million Thomas Sankara’s.”
- An accomplished guitarist, he wrote the new national anthem himself. [
According to sources, a week before his murder, he declared that: “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.”
“Thomas knew how to show his people that they could become dignified and proud through willpower, courage, honesty, and work. What remains above all of my husband’s is his integrity.”— Mariam Sankara, Thomas’ widow.
Compaoré’s dictatorship, Sankara’s murder chief plotter, remained in power for 27 years, until it was overthrown by popular protest in 2014. If this new push for an investigation into the brutal murder of Sankara and twelve others proceed, Compaoré and all those responsible could be held accountable and prosecuted. More details to follow.Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, has accepted an invitation from the government of Burkina Faso to chair a committee to institute a fitting memorial for the late Burkinabe leader, Thomas Sankara.
Our own Adeola talks about the best African president, the late Thomas Sankara