The west African Nation of Upper Volta celebrated the 17th anniversary of the proclamation of the republic with colourful ceremony in the capital.
The west African Nation of Upper Volta celebrated the 17th anniversary of the proclamation of the republic with colourful ceremony in the capital. Ouagadougou, on Sunday (11 December).
SYNOPSIS: The festivities began with the arrival, in an open vehicle, of the Head of State General Aboubacar Sangoule Lamizana, who inspected troops lined up along the capital's Independence Avenue.
Specially invited guests at the ceremony included members of the diplomatic crops, government ministers and high-ranking members of the armed forces.
Upper Volta became independent from France in 1960 and the army was formed soon afterwards. The country's armed forces have a strength of 3,000 including an air squadron controlled by the army.
They are supplemented with a paramilitary forces which numbers took over control after mass demonstrations and the threat of a general strike.
But in 1970, a measure of civilian rule was restored with the establishment of 57-member Assembly following general elections. After a political power struggle between the Assembly and the Prime Minister resumed government of the country in 1974, dissolving the Assembly and suspending the constitution. The Prime Minister and the Assembly were both deposed.
The republic day parade was not all a serious affair. Marchers in tribal costume, the release of balloons and tribesmen on horseback added colour to the occasion.
President Lamizana, who came to power in 1966, has promised measures to establish a Parliamentary democracy in Upper Volta. A referendum held last month, in which 70 per cent of the electorate supported democratic rule, has opened the door to the return of civilian rule.