No other African leader, and very few leaders in the rest of the world, brought so much radical change and were so revolutionary as Burkina Faso’s The Lion King Thomas Sankara. He was most visionary and creative. And he was a most incorruptible of men. But, those who do not want to see such independent leadership and creativity in Africa, could not allow that – and so, Sankara had to be eliminated. Who killed or ordered the killing of Sankara? Very few doubt that, it was none other than the present dictator of Burkina Faso: Blaise Compaoré, Sankara’s closest friend and confidant, who personally murdered him or ordered it.

In return, France paid Blaise for removing the man who was seen as a great obstacle to France’s strategy and influence there. They paid him well. Blaise has since become one of Élysée Palace’s most favorite guests and one of the wealthiest leaders in the world. But Africans will never forget one of its most caring sons: As Africa looks desperately for leaders of integrity and vision, the life and ideals of the late Thomas Sankara seem more and more relevant and exemplary with the passage of time. Sankara is still venerated as much as Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral and Steve Biko are – in Africa and as much as Che Guevara is, around the world.

Sankara, a charismatic army captain, came to power in Burkina Faso, in 1983, in a popularly supported coup. He immediately launched the most ambitious program for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent. To symbolize this rebirth, he even renamed his country from the French colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, Land of Upright Men. As soon as he took office, he reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of chauffeur-driven Mercedes and 1st class airline tickets. Like many revolutionary leaders, he banned unions, a free press, anything which might stand in the way of his plans for the immediate and radical transformation of society. Newsreel

Blaise, his murderer and no upright man, is still in power ten, twenty, ? years later. He has pursued self-enrichment and politics as usual, with mock elections; and has been fêted by the West for his compliance; while Burkina Faso continues to be a poor country even by West African standards. Blaise feared Sankara so much that he had to have his body dismembered, bury him in a make shift grave and mention of him was erased from public view. But The Lion King, the martyr, Thomas Sankara lives on. He will always remain one of Africa’s greatest, most venerated and one of Africa’s most highly regarded leaders. And he will always be remembered.

Omar Basawad

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  1. Thomas Sankara: betrayed but always remembered
    It is most unfortunate that that which we are in dire need to see the light of the day same we hate with perfect hatred and waste no time to destroy it totally. The major problem of African countries are not having credible leaders, leaders of integrity, visionary and selfless. But the few ones that comes up are immediately dispatched by ourselves to the great beyond or with the connivance of European Leaders when will Africa ever be free from these wicked influence only God knows.


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