Mr Speaker, many things have been said about Burkina Faso or the Upper Volta as the name used to be. Mr Speaker, a lot of good things have happened over the period, but equally, a lot of nasty things have happened.
Mr Speaker, it is wrong for anyone, whether in Africa or anywhere, to assume that the wisdom to rule could only be found in him or her. I believe that the saying that what goes round comes round most often happens. If you look at how people enter -- The channel they use in entering into leadership, if you are not careful, they mostly exit through the same. If you look at the circumstances that brought Mr Blaise Compoare into power and how he has exited, it is very worrying.
Mr Speaker, I thought when these things are happening elsewhere, people would pick the lessons. If you look at what happened in North Africa, from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya, I thought that would have been the last time we would see any African leader try to amend his or her Constitution.
Mr Speaker, the sad thing about all what is happening is that, everybody keeps saying that it is the leaders. We have forgotten that the followers contribute to it too. This is because people who are usually around the leaders do not tell them the truth. They do not really get them the right information.
This is because we could get a leader that has always been deceived by the National Security briefing or by the information that he is given by his peer or colleagues that are supposed to help him to govern. Therefore, he or she would be assuming that everything is alright.
Mr Speaker, as part of the lessons that we are learning in Africa, one of the things that we need to begin to confront in Africa, especially at the African Union (AU) level,
is the issue of general restrictions. What do I mean by general restrictions? In Africa, we as Africans would set a time limit for everybody, that a country must choose within this period. For example, to say that the presidential term could be not less than four years and not less than seven years and not more than two terms.
Mr Speaker, all African leaders who are part of the AU must subscribe. One could choose, like in Ghana, we have two-four year terms or in the case of la Cote d'Ivoire, two-five year terms or in some others, where it is two-seven year terms. But they could not have more than this. So, in that way, your country would just choose which one you have, so that any attempt for any other person to do any other thing would be resisted by the whole of Africa.
Mr Speaker, sometimes, there is this claim of sovereignty. It is in their internal matters. I could be rest assured that if West African leaders had not intervened by going to Burkina Faso early enough, there could have been more chaos. There could have been refugees, and when they are trooping, they may be going to Mali, Ghana, la Cote d'Ivoire and what have you.
Mr Speaker, here, we have the former President of Burkina Faso who has taken refuge in la Cote d'Ivoire. It means that whatever is happening in one African country, can indirectly or directly affect any other African country. That is why we must all be concerned with the kind of system that every one of us has. This is because if we are not concerned about what happens in our neighbour's country and there is trouble, it would indirectly affect us.
Lastly, Mr Speaker, it is very instruc- tive for those of us who are Members of Parliament. It is just as a piece of advice for those in the Majority as it is for those in the Minority. This is because when there are issues and we all know there are best ways to deal with them but we decide to politicise them, whether in the Majority or Minority, we send the wrong signal and information to the people whom we are representing. And anytime that happens, it keeps breeding tension within the country. We must all take a very great lesson, especially those of us in the Majority.
Mr Speaker, this is because with some of the things that are happening all over and with what we are hearing in Burkina Faso, like the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has indicated-- people losing both their homes in the capital city and their hometowns -- That is very serious for a Member of Parliament to go through.
But I believe that we need to be more careful and circumspect the way we carry ourselves and the things that we do in the House, whether in support or opposition of Government.
Mr Speaker, we wish Burkina Faso well and pray that even as they serve this time frame of one year to move into a legitimate government to run their country, we would continue to pray with them and pay attention to the details of what is happening in their country, so that come next year, we may have a different and a better situation to talk about.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.