Blaise Compaoré is gone…

By Abdoulaye W. Dukulé

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
November 3, 2014


It was ten years ago when I penned an article, calling for the indictment of the mentors of Charles Taylor, Libyan leader Kaddafi and Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaoré. Now they are all gone and I can’t help thinking back of those years of peace negotiations, where Blaise Compaoré used his close alliance with the Libyan leader to put pressure of some countries of ECOWAS. Many Liberians often think that Interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer also stopped ECOMOG as soon as they were close to booting out Taylor. It was always President Compaoré, who used his direct line to Kaddafi and put pressure on ECOMOG. Because, as he provided direct military and financial support to Charles Taylor in Liberia, Kaddafi was also supporting the cost of some of the ECOMOG contingents. He played both sides and Blaise Compaoré served as his middle man.  This is the same strategy that Kaddafi used to maintain his control over the Sahara region. He gave money to the governments in Senegal, Niger, Mali and Mauritania and at the same time financed rebels that were threatening the same countries. Compaoré was the perfect middle man.
General Naboré Honoré Traoré, the new head of state of Burkina Faso…

In early 1993, when ECOMOG had fought back the Octopus Operation launched by Charles Taylor to take over Monrovia and were about to get him out totally, the Interim Government was told by none other than General Olurin that we must negotiate with the NPFL and that the military solution was not viable. General Olurin had come to replace General Bakut. We were in Geneva, negotiating when General Olurin came from Washington, DC with a clear message: ECOMOG would not move any further into NPFL territory and the only solution was to negotiate. It was a short meeting, attended by Foreign Minister Baccus Matthews, Minister of Information Laminy Warrity, Minister of Justice Philips Banks and Conmany Wesseh, the peace advisor. Our best exit was to reach a deal on concomitance. It was  the handwork of Kaddafi, through Blaise Compaoré, who had a former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs had reassured President Houphouet Boigny that the Liberian crisis was “under control and would not spill over.” Ironically, many Liberians still believe that Dr. Sawyer stopped ECOMOG, which was never the case, either under Donganyaro or Olurin. It was the Libyan-Burkina pressure on other member countries that stopped ECOMOG whenever Taylor was on the brink of defeat.

Prior to the Geneva peace talks supervised by UN Special Gordon Summers, I met with Blaise Compaoré. It was in March 1993. Amara Essy, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cote d’Ivoire had told me that Blaise Compaoré had lost his only son and he asked me if I wanted to go along for the funerals… He said that we should talk to Blaise if we wanted to make any progress. I told President Sawyer and the next day, I was on a flight to Burkina Faso. I was carrying a letter, with a very simple condolence letter, which pointed to the many thousands of orphans in Liberia and appealed to Blaise, who lost his only child to help us save the next generation of Liberians.

President Compaoré received me at his private residence. He took the letter and asked me to read it for him. His wife Chantal made tea for us. He asked me questions about ULIMO, Raleigh Seekie, Alhaji Kromah and Interim President Sawyer. He asked if we thought a military solution was the best way forward. I responded that it means more Liberians would die. He said that he thought so too. He went quiet for a few second and then added that he would talk to Charles Taylor. First lady Chantal brought us back to reality when she joined us and asked what was in the letter. Before Compaoré said anything, I responded “My president says that too many children are dying in Liberia for this war and he thinks your husband can help us end it.” She started to cry and left the porch where we were sitting. President Compaoré sat quietly for a second and said, “you didn’t say all that when you translated the letter to me.” I did not apologize.


He then asked me if I were Mandingo and if I understood Bambara. I said, “Yes”.  He said that he and Charles Taylor were “brothers,” as in “Ton” a Bambara brotherhood where people die to protect each other, no matter what. “I can tell you that now and you have to tell President Sawyer. I will ask Charles to negotiate but I will never betray him and will never allow anyone to harm him, as long as I live.”

The conversation was over.
Over the years, I would see President Compaoré, at ECOWAS, AU meetings and we always shook hands but never spoke. The last time we met was at the Japanese African Summit, last June. African leaders were in the same room, having coffee and chatting with their Japanese hosts before the official opening of the meeting. We shook hands, and for the first time, since our meeting in 1993, we spoke: “How are things in Liberia?” “We are trying.” “Where is President Sirleaf?” “Over there.”

I was still looking forward to the day when he would join Charles Taylor and Kaddafi, wherever they were. He was then in the middle of playing puppet master in the Malian crisis as he did in the Ivorian civil war.  Malian rebels had an office in Ouagadougou and he was the chief negotiator. When Laurent Gbagbo was fighting Houphouet, he provided him support and gave him a Burkina Faso diplomatic passport. When Gbagbo became president and started to chase Burkinabe farmers from Cote d’Ivoire, he and Kaddafi created the Nouvelles Forces, the rebel group that would eventually overthrow Gbagbo.

After 27 years in power, he was trying to manipulate the constitution and add 15 more years to his tenure. He could not imagine himself living without being President. We may never get him to The Hague, but Thomas Sankara and others are smiling today. He masterminded every crisis in the region and became an interlocutor for Paris and Washington. But he forget to pay attention to the kids in the streets of Ouagadougou.

I am not unhappy that he is finally out. But again, as it often happens, the military junta has taken over. They are not the solution to Burkina Faso problems. Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Nigeria all had their spats with bad military transition. The fall of “strongmen” men more than often lead to more chaos, as in Libya and Egypt.

Hopefully, the land of “Man of Integrity,” Burkina Faso, will learn from our lessons… But history always repeats itself. The past is always here to remind us of the nature of political power.

Garsuah Gborvlehn
Mr. Dukule,

It is deceptive to disseminate that "it was not Interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer who stopped ECOMOG as soon as they were close to booting out Taylor, but It was always President Compaoré, who used his direct line to Kaddafi and put pressure on ECOMOG." It was him in order to loot the remaing cash in the bänks and the ones from the international community. And you know it! STOP LYING!

Your deception stems from the reality, fact, and truth, that this could have never been the case, for ECOMOG an AGLOPHONE MILITARY ALLIANCE was directly controlled By Abuja/Lagos and Washington, and could no way be controlled By a francophone country and and Arab country or leader, inspite of the fact they could help Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf smuggle arms through neighboring Francophone countries (Ivory Coast, etc. etc) into Liberia for Taylor.

In short, if what you are saying is true Campaore and Kadafi had so much influence, authority, and power, over ECOMOG, then ECOMOG would have never driven Charles Taylor and his NPFL forces out of Monrovia in the first Place, and Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf´s NPFL would have taken the capital(AND IN FACT THE WHOLE COUNTRY) as early as early September 1990 and NOT driven out By ECOMOG! STOP LYING!
Garsuah Gborvlehn at 04:58AM, 2014/11/07.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Mr.Abdoulaye Dukule, why have you left out the main or background part of this recent history where Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is known to be FAR FAR FAR WORST than Compaore and or Quadafi?

Actually, besides the fact that I disagree with you on your account of Amos Sawyer in your first paragraph, I really do appreciate such report.

But the fact that you seem to deliberately keep the Liberian people in the dark about the far worst role of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, I hereby charge you with the offense of intellectual sabotage with the intent to conceal the criminal acts of a war criminal.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 12:26PM, 2014/11/07.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
In continuity, Mr. Dukule, you claim "Ironically, many Liberians still believe that Dr. Sawyer stopped ECOMOG, which was never the case, either under Donganyaro or Olurin;it was the Libyan-Burkina pressure on other member countries that stopped ECOMOG whenever Taylor was on the brink of defeat."

This assertion is far from the truth, for while it is true ECOMOG was able to flush out Chales Taylor´s forces from Monrovia to Kakata, there was never a time between 1990 and Octopus that Taylor was ever on the brink of defeat.

In fact it was this permanent and prominent war power Taylor had that made him to believe he could capture Monrovia via his Operation Octopus in late 1992!

This idea of negotiating with Taylor or NPFL was initiated by the very Sawyer himself after ECOMOG had already arrived and Sawyer was made Interim President and he Sawyer told Taylor to be come Speaker and Taylor retorted NO..."I did not wage this uprising for the PRIZE of been Speaker, but rather, Head of State."

So, we like to remind this writer that the truth is that it was the very Sawyer who, after Taylor rejected his Sawyer´s offer of the Speakership,(IN OCTOBER 1990) that saw an easy way to get rich with the money in all of the banks since Taylor had been pushed out of THE NATION´S POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CAPITAL - MONROVIA.

Mr. Dukule you contradict yourself when you claim "It was always President Compaoré, who used his direct line to Kaddafi and put pressure on ECOMOG" while at the same time saying "We were in Geneva, negotiating when General Olurin came from Washington, DC with a clear message: ECOMOG would not move any further into NPFL territory and the only solution was to negotiate.

So, Mr. Dukule, do you want to tell us Kadafi had influence or sway over Washington when the very Kadafi was a very serious enemy and pariah to Washington AT THE TIME?

Besides, Mr. Dukule, the war, at the time was realisticly a battle for Liberia fought between Lybia and America. So to come and tell us that Lybia an enemy of America was the mouthpiece for America and the ANGLOPHONE MILITARY ALLIANCE IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE!
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 07:07AM, 2014/11/08.
Satta Kilby
Abdoulaye W. Dukulé wrote a brilliant piece and I believe his analysis, part of them, are accurate, especially when it comes to former president Campaore.

However, Abdoulaye W. Dukulé needs to point out the role his native country, the Ivory Coast played in destroying Liberia. Sawyer allowed Dukule so much access to Liberia's inner working and Dukele understands how things happened.

Abdoulaye W. Dukulé was not only born in the Ivory Coast, he is an Ivorian by nationality not naturalization. How did he come to mingle into Liberian inner politics in this way? He is now with the criminal president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

The problem we the Liberian Mandingo have and for which other Liberian brothers and sisters will always consider us as non-Liberians is that we cover up Non-Liberian Mandingoes from neighboring countries by thinking they are Liberians. It is annoying.

Let Dukule tell us where in Liberia was he born, who his parents are and what county is he from? This guy migrated to Liberia as an adult and was able to penetrate Liberia in such a way.

Apart from Sierra Leone, our neighboring countries frown on Liberians taking citizens nonetheless getting even private sector jobs in their terrain. Ghana denies Liberians every access; Guinea wouldn't even permit a Liberian to do anything. This is just unfair.

Here is a case in point. Former Guinean prime minister Sidya Toure claimed Ivorian citizenship in the Ivory Coast and served in that country's government as a senior bureaucrat. All along he lied that his parents were Ivorians. But as soon as his country Guinea called him to be prime minister he changed course and found his real village in Guinea.

It is one thing to be a Mandingo or any other tribe from another African nation and call yourself a Liberian when you are born in the country. For me that makes you a Liberian. Or when you naturalized. But to cross the border and force Liberian citizenship on yourself is unacceptable. This should not be condoned by Liberian Mandingoes and by any other tribe that tend to cover up for their tribal people from neighboring countries.

Mandingoes are not the only tribe found in most African states. The Gios, Bassa, Kpelle, Lorma, Kissi and Krahn are also found in some countries. However, the difference is these other tribes do not cover up for people from those countries that want to force Liberian citizenship on themselves without following the proper process.

Until we Liberian Mandingo can make this distinction, our other Liberian brothers and sisters will always consider all of us to be like Abdoulaye W. Dukulé.
Satta Kilby at 02:48AM, 2014/11/15.
John Kollie
So is Abdoulaye W. Dukulé really an Ivorian? Wow!!!

How did this guy managed to play such a powerful role in Liberian affairs?

He is now a special envoy for Liberia under President Sirleaf's criminal administration. He needs to naturalize as a Liberian if he is continue playing such a vital role.

Abdoulaye W. Dukulé is not to be blame. All the small contracts in Liberia are going to Ghanians handymen and small contractors while Liberian small business people can't get anything.

But again our people in Ghana are deny every access. This just tells you how stupid Liberians are. These people come to liberia and can do anything, even meddle in our political life with their funny names to the point that some of them even want to be presidents.

How many Liberians or descendants of Liberians in our neighboring countries that even attempt to be town council member? None. Wake up Liberia!

John Kollie at 03:00AM, 2014/11/15.

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