On what would have been his 66th Birthday, we remember Thomas Sankara, The Upright Man. The founding president of Burkina Faso who was a man of the people, champion of accountable governance, political humility and gender parity, was assassinated on October 15, 1987 in a conspiracy widely understood to have been led by his closest confidante, Blaise Campaore. Campaore went on to rule with an iron fist for 27 years, until a people’s revolt unseated him in 2014.
Recently, we saw what may be the beginning of the road to justice for the revered fallen leader, with the arrest of General Gilbert Diendere, Campaore’s Chief of Staff and the muscle in Sankara’s violent overthrow. Diendere – who also led the 2015 coup attempt against the country’s post Campaore transitional government – was recently charged with complicity in Sankara’s murder. Having fled to the Ivory Coast after the 2014 people’s revolt, Compaore has now also been charged with murder and complicity in the assassination. We await the Ivory Coast’s reaction to the international arrest warrant issued against him.
This documentary by Zorn Productions, Arte France and France 3, documents Sankara’s inspired contribution to the Burkinabe as a freedom fighter, leader and martyr.