Kafando: farmer who must shepherd Burkina to democracy

Burkina Faso's newly appointed interim president Michel Kafando (C) appears in Ouagadougou on November 17, 2014Few people can ever have assumed power with a heavier heart than veteran diplomat Michel Kafando, who was dragged out of retirement on his farm to lead Burkina Faso’s tricky return to democracy. Austere, unsmiling, even funereal in his manner, the west African nation could hardly have chosen someone with a more forbidding reputation for probity to handle its tricky transition, after angry protesters ousted former president Blaise Compaore when he tried to extend his 27-year rule. The country’s former ambassador to the UN, Kafando, 72, took his successor to task while Compaore was still in power for selling the country’s residence in New York in what he claimed was a dubious deal. Power should be excercised without “the least abuse, nor excess”, he said, and he does not want Burkina to be known as “a banana republic”.

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