Nkurunziza’s Regime suspends CSOs/NGOs, while promoting tolerance at UNGA!
“the spirit of tolerance, honesty and openness of the political space is growing stronger in Burundi” – Foreign Minister Ezekiel Nibigira at UNGA on the 28th September 2018
It is hard to take the words of Foreign Minister Nibirgira from the Republic of Burundi. As the regime under Pierre Nkurunziza are more and more hostile to the Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Republic, as they have sanctioned all the suspended activity for three months for over a 100 organizations, plus seizing their accounts and challenging them to a meeting on the 1st October 2018. This is all being done, while the United Nations General Assembly is happening and the state wants to be taken of the UN Security Council program.
Well, when you are challenging the CSOs and NGOs, which brings in the foreign currency and also development projects, that the state doesn’t touch. At the same time, these acts as buffers and questions the regime. They report and monitor their operations in the climate that Nkurunziza and his party provides. By all means, these reports and their memo’s well be released abroad. That is something the Burundian government cannot control, just as they are putting in new laws, saying what ethnic group they can hire and what sort of activity they can do. This isn’t an open or transparent society, when the state are telling who can be hired and who cannot. That is a simple fact. When the ethnic backdrop of any sort of hire, you know that the state are going into a dangerous territory. That is a place where the football playing and so-called born-again dictator has gone too.
So, when the Foreign Minister is claiming this, that there is growing space, it is really shrinking. As the state is going into other alleys to control it. Making sure the society are following the guidelines of the President and his party CNDD-FDD. Therefore, the Burundian government if they would make the world believe in a growing tolerance. They shouldn’t order how the CSOs and NGOs are operating and hiring. Unless, they want to cease all their operations.
There have already been suspension of operation from organizations like Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), CARE and about another 100 CSOs/NGOs. Clearly, the government is not that open and want to cease control of all parts of the Republic. Not leaving anything to circumstance, as the new law was effective from the 1st January 2018.
That is why the Foreign Minister and the Nkurunziza administration knows what they are doing. Therefore, the speech at UNGA doesn’t overshadow the facts. That the window of free spaces are just closing in, at any way possible. There is no signs of anything else, as the laws and the actions of the government are really showing scaring activity. Where the suspension of the CSOs/NGOs is just another act of oppression from the President and his party. Peace.