Thomas Sankara, a man whose story was told all over the planet earth for his strong stand against European aid be it inform of money, food, or even clothes and went to an extent of leading a revolution in Burkina Faso. He rose to become a big figure in his country but was later on betrayed by his close friend and so assassinated. But who was Thomas Sankara?
Thomas Sankara famously referred to as the upright man came to power in 1984 after a coup that was sponsored by ordinary and maybe to say poor citizens of Burkina Faso. His rise to power immediately inspired him to change the country’s name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso which means the land of upright man. Burkina Faso was a French colony and so the French administration were not happy with this young, dynamic, and promising man who wanted to completely change how things were conducted in Burkina Faso because protecting their interests was their first and maybe only priority.
Contrary to a number of African leaders who would take advantage of their position and power to exploit their fellow countrymen thus rendering them poor and beggar’s, Sankara decides to straighten how his government will be operating and the first thing he does is to cut salaries almost by half of Ministers and senior government officials and not only that, he issued a directive that each and every public servant should drive in cheaper cars instead of riding in expensive Mercedes Benz. Sankara in his words stated there was no need for senior officials to travel in business class planes and they should resort to the economy class which was way cheaper and so saving the taxpayers money.
The upright man was against importing clothes from Europe and America and so he decided to empower local weavers to invest in clothes manufacturing industry and to open a big market for them, Sankara orders Government officials to always put on clothes manufactured locally, a rule that was seriously embraced and followed. During the AU (African Union) meetings at that time then it was referred to as OAU (Organization of African Union), Sankara did wear clothes locally manufactured in Burkina Faso and even convinced other African leaders to embrace the same in their countries. Sankara was the first African leader to empower women by appointing them to head various government institutions and even recruited women in the army something that was very rare and unheard of in the 90’s simply because women were considered to belong to the kitchen only and nothing more.
Many citizens were recruited in the army so as to set up revolutionary defense committees (RDC). The RDC men later on drifted away from their designated roles and started terrorizing people and Sankara was blamed for not taking charge. Now behind that confusion and blame game, Sankara’s best friend, brother, and trusted deputy by the name Blaise Compaore had ambitions to rise to power and the only way that could happen is by eliminating his boss Thomas Sankara. Blaise Compaore decides to make a move and take advantage of the ongoing protests against restrictions and curfews as citizens lamented, Blaise gets support from the French and so he disowns Sankara and later on Thomas Sankara is killed and buried very quickly as if he was no leader that was in October 15th 1987. Sankara knew Blaise was going to betray and even kill him but he was of the opinion that he is not going to betray his brother Blaise, let Blaise be the first one to betray him, and that decision cost his life.
Blaise Compaore would later appoint himself as Burkina Faso’s President.