Thomas Sankara on Women's Rights


Thomas Sankara’s government included a large number of women. Improving women’s status was one of Sankara’s explicit goals, an unprecedented policy priority in West Africa. His government banned female genital cutting, condemned polygamy, and promoted contraception. The Burkinabé government was also the first African government to publicly recognize AIDS as a major threat to Africa.



Sankara had some original initiatives that contributed to his popularity and brought some international media attention to the Burkinabé revolution:

* He sold most of the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers; * He formed an all-women motorcycle personal guard. * In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country).

Here are some of his quotes;

“We hope and believe that the best way of limiting the usurpation of power by individuals, military or otherwise, is to put the people in charge. Between fractions, between clans, plots and coups d’etats can be perpetrated. Against the people, a durable coup d’état cannot be perpetrated. Therefore, the best way of preventing the army from confiscating power for itself and for itself alone is to make this power shared by the voltaic people from the outset. That’s what we are aiming for..”

August 21, 1983 press conference.

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“It’s really a pity that there are observers who view political events like comic strips. There has to be a Zorro, there has to be a star. No, the problem of Upper Volta is more serious than that. It was a grave mistake to have looked for a man, a star, at all costs, to the point of creating one, that is, to the point of attributing the ownership of the event to captain Sankara, who must have been the brains, etc.”

August 21, 1983 press conference.

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“That is the hidden side of November 7 revealed. Mysteries still remain under the cover. History will perhaps be able to speak about it at greater length and to assign responsibilities more clearly.”

August 21, 1983 press conference.

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“As for our relationship with the political class, what relations would you have liked us to weave? We explained face to face, directly with the leaders, the former leaders of the former political parties because, for us, these parties do not exist any more, they have been dissolved. And that is very clear. The relationship that we have with them is simply the relationship we have with voltaic citizens, or, if they so wish, the relationship between revolutionaries, if they wish to become revolutionaries. Beyond that, nothing remains but the relationship between revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries.”


August 21, 1983 press conference.

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“I would like to leave behind me the conviction that if we maintain a certain amount of caution and organization we deserve victory[....] You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. [...] We must dare to invent the future.”

1985

Source: (Excerpt from interviews with Swiss Journalist Jean-Philippe Rapp, translated from Sankara: Un nouveau pouvoir africain by Jean Ziegler. Lausanne, Switzerland: Editions Pierre-Marcel Favre, 1986. Used by permission in following source:) Sankara, Thomas. Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-87. trans. Samantha Anderson. New York: Pathfinder, 1988. pp. 141-144.

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“A military without political training is a potential criminal.”

Source : http://unitedafrica.blogspot.com/

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