French MP Andre Chassaigne has called for a parliamentary inquiry into France’s role in the 1987 assassination of President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, Press TV reports.
Known as Africa's Che Guevara, Captain Sankara was hailed by many as a charismatic and revolutionary leader. But he was killed in October 1987 when his former leading associate, current President Blaise Compaore, seized power in a coup d'état.
“An inquest will reveal France’s responsibility. I’ll be quite happy if France is not implicated. But the important thing is that the obscurity surrounding Sankara’s death will be brought to light," Chassaigne told Press TV correspondent Ramin Mazaheri on Friday in Paris.
Many say that Sankara was killed with the help of the intelligence agencies of the United States and France.
His reforms included nationalization of natural resources, environmental protection, land redistribution, and most notably, the rejection of foreign aid and debt repudiation, which was meant to avert the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, but which also created many enemies for the young revolutionary.
Sankara became president after seizing power in a coup in August 1983 when he was just 33 years old.
He renamed the country, which was formerly known as Upper Volta, Burkina Faso, which can be translated as “Land of Upright Men” or “Land of the Honest People.”
Captain Sankara began a nationwide literacy campaign, and 2.5 million children were vaccinated against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles during his time in office.
In addition, over ten million trees were planted to halt the desertification of the Sahel, and wheat production was doubled.
Sankara was also a great supporter of women’s rights. He outlawed female genital mutilation and forced marriages and appointed women to high posts in the government.
With the Cold War still on, such leftist reforms drew immediate retaliation. France has yet to acknowledge its role and most probably will not do so in the foreseeable future.
Even though the French media has largely ignored the call for a parliamentary inquiry, Sankara’s legacy as an anti-imperialist and socialist visionary remains immense.
"He proved that Africa and the developing world can produce leaders who can set examples for the entire world. Sankara represents an ideal, which many Western leaders failed to attain,” Chassaigne stated.
“The world is poorer that he is not with us today,” he added.
For Burkina Faso, Sankara’s revolution died with him. France immediately recognized the coup of Compaore, who has held power ever since. Sankara’s policies were reversed, and Burkina Faso has become one of the world’s poorest and least-developed nations.
However, it is said that the spirit of Sankara lives on in the hearts of many revolutionaries across the world.