Burkina Faso

Burkina elections: Kaboré fills Ouagadougou national stadium for last campaign rally

Daniel Finnan

Some 35,000 people filled Ouagadougou’s national stadium on Friday for an election campaign rally supporting Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in Burkina Faso’s landmark election. Kaboré and his People’s Movement for Progress (MPP) party have emerged as one of the frontrunners in the polls, which are the first elections to be held since the ousting of former president Blaise Compaore.

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“We ask you to stay mobilised,” Kaboré told thousands of supporters wearing the MPP’s orange colours at the 4 August stadium in Burkina’s capital. His straightforward address lasted some 30 minutes and touched on many policy points including healthcare, education and agriculture.

Kaboré’s programme for the youth, women and the elderly is the “best one”, MPP supporter Issoufou Traore told RFI, explaining that he preferred Kaboré’s policies compared to other presidential candidates.

One of the major factors in electoral campaigning has been candidates’ connections with the regime of former strongman Compaore. Roch, as he is affectionately known by his supporters, was previously head of Compaore’s ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party, but quit in protest over the former leader’s attempt to change the constitution to prolong his stay in office.

"Compaore has been president for 27 years, if somebody in the country didn’t work with Compaore he’s a bad guy and he’s not able to do anything,” said Bachir Ismael Ouedraogo, an MPP candidate for the legislative elections and member of the party’s executive bureau.

Besides Kaboré’s address and speeches from other high-ranking party members, the MPP rally was dominated by music. Notable performances included Burkinabe afro-reggae star Sana Bob and Nigerian music star Davido, whose act at the end of the rally resulted in many members of the crowd climbing down from the stands onto the field.

The attendance at the stadium on Friday, which was the last day of campaigning, provides some indication of the strong support Kaboré garners in Ouagadougou. A rally for Zephirin Diabre of the Union for Progress and Change (UPC), one of the other supposed frontrunners, attracted some 10,000 supporters at the municipal stadium in Ouagadougou, not quite filling the venue.

Sunday’s polls are seen as a key part of Burkina Faso’s transition since the popular uprising which ousted Compaore in October 2014. Elections were originally scheduled for October this year, however a failed coup in September threatened to derail the process and led to polls being delayed.

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