Burkina Faso’s former foreign minister Michel Kafando will be sworn in as president Tuesday, a day after he was unanimously chosen by an electoral college of representatives from political parties, the military, civil society and religious leaders.
Issaka Traore, a spokesman for the civil society groups, said they cast their votes for Kafando because of his experience as a diplomat and as someone who can manage the affairs of state.
“First of all, the reason he was accepted over the two candidates is because of his experience as a diplomat and his experience in terms of managing the affairs of the state. Mr. Kafando is the first diplomat of our country. He served at the United Nations headquarters in New York for almost 15 years. He was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs for our country,” he said.
Traore said there was a lengthy debate in the Electoral College after civil society representatives raised some concerns about Kafando’s past ties to the government of ousted President Blaize Campaore.
“Indeed, we had some questions and concerns about Mr. Kafando. The fact that he was a former diplomat of Mr. Campaore was put on the table. But, at the end of the day, despite the fact that he was close to Mr. Campaore, we reached a consensus because we needed someone with international connections to help the country move [forward], and Mr. Kafando was the man for the job,” Traore said.
He said the first thing civil society groups would like for Kafando and the interim administration to do is to work to bring about justice for economic and other crimes committed against the people, and institute reforms in the legal system.
Traore said Kafando assured the civil society organizations that the interim administration would work to uphold the principles of the Burkina Faso revolution.
“Based on the interview we had with him, he promised that he will have in mind the revolution, the fact that the people of Burkina Faso went in the streets and some people lost their lives for an idea and for a goal,” Traore said.
He said the civil society, religious and political party leaders told Kafando that, if the interim administration did not keep its promise, the people of Burkina Faso would return to the streets again.
After his inauguration, Kafando will choose a prime minister, who will then select a 25-member cabinet. He will not be eligible to run in elections scheduled for next year.