By John Ikani
The junta that overthrew the government in Burkina Faso earlier this month, has adopted a “fundamental act,” naming its leader as the country’s new President until the establishment of a transitional charter.
It has also restored the constitution, a development which comes shortly after the African Union (AU) suspended the country for the takeover and the United Nations pressed demands for a return to civilian rule.
In a statement read on television, the junta announced it had approved a “fundamental act” that “lifts the suspension of the constitution,” a move that had been declared after the January 24 coup.
The 37-article document guarantees independence of the judiciary and presumption of innocence, as well as basic liberties spelt out in the constitution such as freedom of movement and freedom of speech, according to the statement.
According to the act read on national TV by a member of the junta, which calls itself the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), a President, two vice presidents, and a coordinator would be appointed, vowing to ensure the continuity of the state and its affairs until transitional bodies can be formed.
Under the act, the President will be Ltn. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba, who the putschists said would serve as head of state, supreme chief of the National Armed Forces, guarantor of judiciary and national independence.
Damiba will also guarantee the country’s territorial integrity, the state’s continuity, and its compliance with international treaties. He will have regulatory power and will accredit ambassadors to foreign nations.
The movement said it had also dismissed the current Chief of Staff and replaced him with his deputy.