In Ghana, we know the achievements of Dr Kwame Nkrumah a true son of the Land. Our neighbouring country Burkina Faso had their share of an iconic leader.
After renaming his country to Burkina Faso, here’s Thomas Sankara’s accomplishments, ONLY 4 YEARS in power (1983-87).
Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution, he is commonly referred to as “Africa’s Che Guevara”.
- He vaccinated 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles in a matter of weeks.
- He planted over 10 million trees to prevent desertification.
- He built roads and a railway to tie the nation together, without foreign aid.
- He appointed females to high governmental positions, encouraged them to work, recruited them into the military, and granted pregnancy leave during education. He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy in support of Women’s rights.
- He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers. He reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
- He redistributed land from the feudal landlords and gave it directly to the peasants. Wheat production rose in three years from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making the country food self-sufficient. He opposed foreign aid, saying that “he who feeds you, controls you.”
- In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country).
- An accomplished guitarist, he wrote the new national anthem himself
- As President, he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer. He refused to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabes.
- When asked why he didn’t want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm for other African leaders, Sankara replied: “There are seven million Thomas Sankara’s.”
Click on the comment box below and leave us your thoughts. Thank you.