Thomas Sankara

A radiant future for our country

Proclamation of August 4

Delivered: August 4, 1983.
This edition: Marxists Internet Archive, December 2022, thanks to Liz Blaczak.

On May 17, 1983, Thomas Sankara, Jean-Baptiste Lingani, and other supporters of the political course defended by Sankara within the Council of Popular Salvation (CSP) were arrested in a coup organized by President Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo and senior officers belonging to the CSP. The coup took place the day after the arrival in Ougadougou of Guy Penne, special advisor on Africa to French president François Mitterand.

Thousands took to the streets of Ougadougou to demand Sankara be freed. On May 30 Sankara and Lingani were placed under house arrest. The officers and personnel of the armed forces and the political parties supporting Sankara's political course launched a sustained effort to prepare for an inevitable confrontation with the pro imperialist forces who had carried out the May 17 coup.

On August 4, 1983, Captain Blaise Compaoré and 250 men marched on Ougadougou and overthrew the Ouédraogo regime. At 10:00 p.m. that evening, Sankara, now President of the National Council of the Revolution (CNR) and head of state, addressed the country in this radio broadcast.

People of Upper Volta:

Today, once again, soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers of the national army and the paramilitary forces found themselves compelled to intervene in the running of state affairs in order to restore independence and liberty to our country and dignity to our people.

The patriotic and progressive objectives that justified the formation of the formation of the Council of Popular Salvation on November 7, 1982, were betrayed on May 17, 1983, that is, only six months later, by individuals vehemently opposed to the Voltaic people's interests and their aspirations for democracy and liberty.

You know these individuals, because they fraudulently wormed their way into the history of our people. They became notorious, first through their two-faced policies, and later through their open alliance with all the conservative and reactionary forces who are capable only of serving the interests of the enemies of the people, the interests of foreign domination and neocolonialism.

Today, August 4, 1983, soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers from all military services and all units, in a surge of patriotism, have decided to sweep away this unpopular regime, the submissive and groveling regime established on May 17, 1983, by doctor and commander Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo, under the tutelage of Colonel Gabriel Somé Yoryan and his henchmen.

Today, August 4, 1983, the patriotic and progressive soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers have thus restored the honor of our people and their army and have given them back their dignity, enabling them to enjoy once again the esteem and respect that everyone, both in Upper Volta and abroad, accorded them from November 7, 1982, to May 17, 1983.

In order to achieve these goals of honor, dignity, genuine independence, and progress for Upper Volta and its people, the current movement of the Voltaic armed forces, having drawn thelessons of the bitter experiences of the CSP, has on this day, August 4, 1983, formed the National Council of the Revolution. This body now assumes state power, putting an end to the bogus regime of the CSP of Commander Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo, who moreover had arbitrarily dissolved it.

People of Upper Volta, the National Council of the Revolution calls on all Voltaics, men and women, young and old, to mobilize and remain vigilant, in order to give the CNR their active support. The National Council of the Revolution invites the Voltaic people to form committees for the Defense of the Revolution everywhere, in order to participate in the CNR's great patriotic struggle and to prevent our enemies here and abroad from doing our people harm. It goes without saying that the political parties are dissolved.[1]

On the international level, the National Council of the Revolution pledges to respect the agreements between our country and other states. Likewise, it maintains our country's membership in regional, continental, and international organizations.

The National Council of the Revolution is not directed against any country, state, or people. It proclaims its solidarity with all peoples and its intention is to live in peace and friendship with all countries, in particular with all of Upper Volta's neighboring countries.

The basic purpose and objective of the National Council of the Revolution is to defend the interests of the Voltaic people and to achieve their deep aspirations for liberty, for genuine independence, and for economic and social progress.

People of Upper Volta:

Let us all move forward with the National Council of the Revolution in this great patriotic battle for the radiant future of our country!

Homeland or death, we will win!

Long live the Voltaic people!

Long live the National Council of the Revolution!



[1] Only parties associated with the former neocolonial regime were dissolved. A number of groups and organisations that supported the revolution were able to function openly.