Captain Ibrahim Traore, Burkina Faso’s military leader, stated on state television that elections are currently “not a priority” compared to addressing security concerns in the country.
This announcement comes nearly a year after he came to power in a coup, promising to restore democracy and hold presidential elections by July 2024. Traore also revealed plans to make changes to the constitution to better represent the “masses.”
He emphasized that security is the primary concern in a nation plagued by militia violence and indicated that organizing elections was still a goal, without specifying a date.
He emphasized the need for elections to be inclusive, reaching all Burkinabe citizens, not just those in major cities like Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso that have been less affected by militia attacks.
Traore also discussed plans for a “partial change” to the constitution, citing the current text’s limited representation and the need for peaceful evolution.
Despite initial hopes that Traore’s efforts to improve security would yield results, Burkina Faso continues to face militia violence. Over 17,000 people have died in attacks since 2015, with more than 6,000 of those deaths occurring this year.
The relationship between Burkina Faso and France deteriorated under Traore’s leadership, leading to the withdrawal of French forces from the country.
Burkina Faso has since strengthened ties with Russia and formed an alliance with Mali and Niger, both of which are also led by military regimes.
Concerns about eroding personal freedoms and alleged abuses by security forces have arisen in Burkina Faso, leading to the suspension of several media outlets and the expulsion of foreign correspondents.
Traore mentioned that individual freedoms should not take precedence over collective freedoms, and he denied any significant unrest within the army following the foiled coup attempt.