It is September 17 today. Incidentally, a holiday, a Muslim holiday in many African countries.. and in Côte d'Ivoire. Today also marks the 7th anniversary of armed conflicts in the country.
It is holiday and Mamadou Coulibaly, the President of the National Assembly has convened an extraordinary session. An 'extraordinary' extraordinary session in which Senators have been required to dress formally and be all seated at 10 AM in the morning.
Pourquoi? Parceque Blaise Compaoré, the President of Burkina Faso is here!
I find all of this interesting. Interesting that Mamadou Coulibaly will really do this..
Because 7 years ago, the same man was on national TV telling us that Blaise Compaore was the person responsible for rebels attacking Côte d'Ivoire. That the arms used to begin the shootings here were channeled through Ouagadougou, the Burkina capital. I still remember the talk about 'armed assailants coming from the North'.
So what happened? What changed? How come Blaise has become the Patron, the Saviour, the Friend and the Compatriot that he is now hailed to be?
I dont know. I cant say.
What I know is that after looking for a political deal in Senegal, Togo, France, South Africa and in all the other unmentioned countries, the Ivorian leaders landed in Ouaga. And that was where the Ivorian peace 'was found'.
That was where Soro Guillaume became Prime Minister.. and power was shared.
That was how we started living in the era of 'Ouaga Accord' and apparently, that is what has held the peace.
I got me plenty questions. How come? How does one change from being the devil into being the saviour? It is really bizarre.
7 years ago, the very name of Blaise Compaore was a threat to national security. I lived near a house that the Campaore couple were building in Abidjan. That building was set on fire by angry young Ivorians. Many Burkinabés who could not stand the intimidation packed and left Côte d'Ivoire.. farms were destroyed..
Now Blaise is in town and I saw the TV announcing his arrival with the President and asking the population to go out and welcome him all the way to the airport.. In fact he has been touring the country.. even up to the maternal home of the President. There, he was made a local chief. Blaise Campaoré is a Bété chief!
It is is really interesting how things can change. Or is it how people can change? Or is it how situations can change?
I dont know if it is things that change people or people that change things. Or if it is situations that change both people and things..
One lesson though..if you ever want to do politics.. be ready. Ready for anything, ready for anybody any time any where...
Be ready to eat your words!