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Young people in Burkina Faso appear to boycott Kemi Seba meeting

Empty hall in Ougadougou where Kemi Seba was due to speak   -  
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Joël Kouam

Burkina Faso

With anti-Western and anti-United Nations demonstrations in full swing in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou, activist and pan-Africanist firebrand, Kemi Seba, travelled to the country to meet junta leader, Ibrahim Traoré, and supporters of his cause.

Accused of promoting Russian policy on the continent and in French-speaking countries, he defended himself at a press conference.

"To the Russian authorities, I made a speech saying that if Russia makes the mistake of wanting to reproduce the same neo-colonial schemes in Africa that France committed, we would fight Russia,” he said.

Seba added that this was why he is “one of the rare people who oppose the raising of the Russian flag at demonstrations in Africa”.

“I say that when we do that, we humiliate ourselves. You won't see Burkina Faso flags being waved at demonstrations in Russia, so we too must learn to avoid them.”

On Saturday,  Seba failed to turn up at a meeting in Ougadougou which appeared to be largely boycotted by young people due to attend, leaving some disappointed.

"We've been here since 2pm and we've been waiting for two or three hours. And in the end they came to tell us that the conference won't be taking place, it's really a total disappointment,"  said young Burkinabé, Kader Zongo.

For many in Burkina Faso,  the pan-African rhetoric is far removed from reality on the ground, with young people dying every day as they try to reach Europe.

Zongo believes this is largely the fault of the leaders who offer no prospects to young people in search of a better future.

For this generation, it is difficult to believe in speeches made by “new saviours”, when the leaders have no will for change. 

"What are our leaders offering young people who decide to brave the waters to go to the West? The problem here is that what these young people don't find here pushes them to brave the  ocean,” he said.

Zongo said he hopes African leaders will take steps towards total sovereignty for African countries “which will give even more hope to young people". 

Young people in Burkina Faso are calling on the authorities to invest in programmes that will enable them to stay in their country.

They also expect the current government to develop agriculture, given that 80 per cent of the country's population are farmers, and to fight corruption, and favouritism in state institutions.

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