Addis Ababa – The African Union and the West African regional bloc on Monday welcomed the appointment of diplomat Michel Kafando as Burkina Faso’s interim president to replace the country’s ousted leader.
AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma praised the people of Burkina Faso “for their political maturity and sense of responsibility” and called for “a smooth transition under the direction of civil authorities”.
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, the current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), also welcomed Kafando’s appointment.
“These acts demonstrate once again the will of the people of Burkina Faso, its national stakeholders and its defence and security Forces to focus on the best interests of the nation,” he said.
The naming of the interim leader came ahead of a two-week deadline the AU had given the country’s army to return the state to civilian rule.
Ecowas had refused put a time period on the discussions, arguing that sanctions would run counter to the regional involvement in trying to find a transitional administration.
Dlamini-Zuma said she “welcomes the restoration of the constitution” and the “significant progress” made towards civilian rule, repeating the AU’s committment and support to the country.
The 54-member bloc also called on the international community to support efforts to “deepen democracy” in Burkina Faso.
Mass unrest erupted in Burkina Faso in late October over ex-president Blaise Compaore’s bid to change the constitution, which would have allowed him to extend his 27-year rule of the landlocked former French colony.
Mahama called on all sides to respect the transition, calling it a “positive development” towards the re-establishment of civilian rule.
“During this transition period, Ecowas urges the authorities to ensure the safety of all Burkinabe, without exception, and the protection of persons and property,” he added.