Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore launched his re-election campaign on Thursday, promising “peace” in a country undermined by jihadist attacks over the past five years.
Speaking to a crowd of 25,000 at a stadium in the country’s second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, Kabore promised to “lead the fight until we have peace and victory for our people.”
He unveiled a programme for a second term in office focused on “securing the national territory”, and acknowledged the “major social upheavals” the country has faced.
“I come to ask for five more years so that together we work for the security, stability, peace and resilience of the Burkinabe people,” he said.
Twelve other candidates will compete at the November 22 vote in the impoverished Sahel nation, which is grappling with an insurgency and the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kabore was seen as a consensus candidate in 2005, embodying the former French colony’s hopes for development and change.
But he now faces growing doubts that he can defeat the insurgency, with whole swathes of the country falling outside the state’s authority and the security forces appear unable to quell the spiral of violence.
Nearly a million people have fled their homes because of the jihadist attacks and thousands of schools have had to close.
Originally scheduled for October 31, the launch of the campaign for Kabore and his People’s Movement for Progress (MPP) party had been postponed due to the death of Kabore’s father.
On Thursday the national campaign director and president of the MPP, Simon Compaore, asked supporters to mobilise for a victory in the first round of presidential and legislative elections and deal “a knockout blow”.
In September, MPs passed a law allowing the validation of election results even if voting is not held throughout the country.
The Constitutional Council on Saturday noted that voting would not take place in nearly a fifth of the country’s territory due to the presence of terrorist groups and absence of administrative officials in those areas, which it said had been abandoned by residents.