The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) held an Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session on the 9th March 2020 ahead of elections later this year in Burundi. What was said there is interesting and the international community should look into this. As the monitoring of the situation on the grounds are hard, as the authorities and government of Burundi has blocked it.
This is clearly 8 risk factors ahead of the elections. This can be as bloody and a big off a crisis like around 2015. As the state is in a worse situation, than at the last go-around. The state is more violent and brutal. Because it has gotten away with it and can continue with the evil spiral against enemies without any fear of repercussions or even sanctions. They are just left alone and can clean their own slate.
The risk factors ahead is on political, economic and security instability (1),
climate of impunity for serious human rights violations (2 & 3),
existence of intentions and motives to resort to violence (4),
capacity of diverse actors to resort to violence (5),
lack of solid representative and national civil society (6),
enabling circumstances and a conducive environment to violence and human rights violations (7) and existing triggering factors for violence (8).
All of those points are here explained by the oral briefing, which is stating the reality on the ground. It is bleak and not rosy. This here is not grounds for a free and fair election, but for a bloody enterprise keeping CNDD-FDD at power, at any cost and with all willpower existing.
“We note a deterioration of the situation in regards to risk factor n°1 on political, economic and security instability. Despite the official statements from Burundian authorities claiming that there is peace and security in Burundi, several serious incidents that occurred recently is evidence of the volatility of the situation” (…) “The economic situation has further deteriorated. Decisions by the Government to monopolise the trade of gold and foreign currencies, the prohibition of foreign money transfers by the main mobile telecommunication operators, as well as the management takeover of the coffee sector by the government – one of the major export sectors of the country – are all last resort measures to rectify the acute lack of foreign currencies, which prevents imports and creates shortages of basic products and medicine, which has a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights by all Burundians” (OCHA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).
“The second and third risk factors related to the widespread climate of impunity for serious human rights violations, recent and old, and to the weakness of State structures able to prevent or halt potential violations remain relevant. Given that the related indicators have more of a structural dimension, there has not been any significant evolution during the last months. Imbonerakure continue to enjoy near total impunity” (OCHA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).
“We observed a more ambiguous development regarding risk factor n°4, namely the existence of intentions and motives to resort to violence, particularly the desire of the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces de défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) to hold onto power, including by using past grievances and cases of impunity for political purposes” (OCHA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020)
“Concerning risk factor n°5, the capacity of diverse actors to resort to violence and to carry out violations, the recent security incidents are all reminiscent of the existence of different armed groups and their capacity to intervene on Burundian territory. ” (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).
“The lack of motivating factors such as a solid, organised and representative national civil society; and free, diversified and independent national media (risk factor n°6), has seen an increase. (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).
“Risk factor 7 on enabling circumstances and a conducive environment to violence and human rights violations, including the manipulation – for political purposes- of identity, past events or motives for engaging in violence, has increased” (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).
“With regards to risk factor 8, i.e. the existence of triggering factors such as the holding of elections, we note the ongoing preparation of different ballots between May and August 2020, and some aspects of the electoral process have already prompted some questions and concerns” (OHCA – ‘Oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, at 43rd Human Rights Council session’ 09.03.2020).
That is enough for now. The 8 risk factors are active and the worrying signs are all there. Let see, if there will be any outrage or if people let it slide. Since, this is the wrong zip-code to worry about. The enemies of the state can just die and be violently taken away. This is what the authorities and continue to do. Elections tend to amplify it too.
We can rest assured that election violence occure, it is sponsored by the state and to significantly impress their master. That is what they do, what we cannot know is to what extent and how many victims that will be counted. Every single life touched by this is one to much. However, don’t expect an outcry or such. Only bitter silence, as several more lives get taken away on the mantle of reigning supreme. Peace.
“ said this to the UN Agents, looking them straight in the eye: you wanted to deploy MAPROBU to come and kill us. This force will not beat us, if they come I know we will defeat them in three hours … We must know that it is time to drive out all the demons that have infiltrated Burundi. God is with us, we will fight all demons. They will be exterminated and Burundi will develop” – Evariste Ndayishimiye (SOS Burundi – ‘Quarterly report on the situation of human rights in Burundi July 1 to September 30, 2017’ October 2017).
Evariste Ndayishimiye is now the apparent heir of the CNDD-FDD and the next up-coming President in Burundi. After three terms of Pierre Nkurunziza. A man whose legacy and time will be deemed with the blood on his hands. Now, the CNDD-FDD is handpicking a man whose mission has been to do the duty of Nkurunziza.
General Ndayishimiye has been in CNDD-FDD since 1995. He came from the Parti pour la Libération du Peuple Hutu-Forces Nationales de Libération (Palipehutu-FNL). A party that has later changed name and is now the only the FNL. A party that he has later done what he could to eliminate together with other strong men in the appointed cabinet of Nkurunziza.
Gen. Ndayishimiye, the Secretary General of CNDD-FDD and former Minister of Interior, whose been in-charge of the Operation “Safisha”, which is Kiswahili for “to clean”. The mission was also to directly assassination of the FNL President. Also, getting rid of the opposition, which were former Ex-Fab and FNL activists.
So, giving him the role now. Will show how not only the militarised CNDD-FDD continues to spread its message with force. But, how they intend to continue their purge. As his known as a hard-liner. A man whose has no issue to use militarised methods to get his way.
The man the CNDD-FDD Secretary General written this: “As for the Burundians, thirsty for power, who let themselves be led by the neo-colonialists who seek to destroy the independence and dignity of the Burundian people in order to achieve their ends, the CNDD-FDD Party recommends that they recapture themselves and join the bandwagon towards the 2020 elections” (Ndayishimiye – ‘Statement of the CNDD-FDD party on the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Ndadaye Melchior’ 20.10.2018).
We know his well known for this as his been nicknamed the “terminator”. For his will of using the police, the army and Imbonerakure to get rid of FNL and Ex-Fab in Burundi. The General knows this and has tried to downplay it. Even as there is weekly people getting abducted, killed and suddenly gone missing.
Gen. Ndayishimiye who has been a loyal general to the President said this before the polls on the latest referendum in 2018: “Anyone who votes No will be a traitor, bought and paid for by white colonizers, They’re enemies of the country. They’re even devils, because voting No will bring a curse” (Ndayishimiye, 2018).
If he feels that way about people voting now to a legislation giving Nkurunziza the possibility of a fourth term. What would he say, if it matters to his own self? Wouldn’t he call them traitors and scum, if they don’t vote for him?
When its that easy to call people enemies. Make secret coded operations to get rid of enemies. That sort of man is dangerous. His dangerously enough in the high ranking position his in now and with his place in the Council among the President. However, now he’ll get even more power.
Don’t expect anyone to dare to insult the CNDD-FDD. Who has used force to say in power. Who has silenced critics and by any means staying in power. His a loyalist to Nkurunziza. So, expect him to hold him in high regard and still play after his time in office.
However, it isn’t a paradigm shift to pick Gen. Ndayishimiye, it is more of the same and possibly amping up the violence even more. Maybe even striking harder down on dissidents and not letting them go. As he will target the enemies of the state and the CNDD-FDD. With all means at his disposal. Don’t expect silencing of the guns, but more of them.
The military wing of CNDD-FDD has gotten their man. This will be bloody. The ones calling him moderate is out of line. The man who was in-charge of cleaning up and assassinations. His not moderate, but a killer in a suit.
Future His Excellency, but don’t expect the CNDD-FDD to change their ways of operations. Just more bloodshed and more constrained political space in the mercy of a Evariste. This here is not good news, but a future with more hostile behaviour from the state. Peace.
The UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was set up in 1995.
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 5, 2019 – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today announced, with deep regret, that the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was closed down on Thursday 28 February at the insistence of the Government.
“It is with deep regret that we have had to close our office in Burundi after a 23-year presence in the country,” Bachelet said. “Since the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was established in 1995, for many years we worked with the Government on peacebuilding, security sector reform, justice sector reform and helped build institutional and civil society capacity on a whole host of human rights issues.”
The UN Human Rights Office in Burundi was set up in 1995, in the context of massive human rights violations perpetrated in the country following the assassination of then President Melchior Ndadaye. The Office helped ensure the incorporation of a human rights dimension to the implementation of the Arusha Agreement, which was the bedrock of the country’s stability for many years. The Office played a leading role in the establishment of the independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in legislative reforms and in the emergence of strong civil society organizations.
“Unfortunately, many of these human rights gains have been seriously jeopardized since 2015,” Bachelet said.
In October 2016, the Government – in reaction to the report by the UN Independent Investigation in Burundi established by the UN Human Rights Council – suspended all cooperation with the Office in Burundi.
“This meant that UN human rights staff were severely hampered in their ability to look into allegations of violations,” the High Commissioner said. Nonetheless, the UN Human Rights Office, in Burundi itself and at its Geneva headquarters, has continued to receive allegations of human rights violations and abuses.
Two years after the suspension of cooperation, on 5 December 2018, the Government requested the closure of the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi, explaining that the country had made sufficient progress in putting in place national mechanisms for the protection of human rights, so the existence of the Office was no longer justified.
“Our reports on the human rights situation in Burundi have always been developed in a constructive spirit, intended to support the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. But I am disappointed by Burundi’s lack of cooperation in recent years with UN human rights mechanisms – which even went so far as to include threats to prosecute members of the independent international Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council,” High Commissioner Bachelet said.
Bachelet paid tribute to the many human rights defenders and civil society actors in Burundi who have worked with inspiring dedication, perseverance, courage and expertise through many political and social crises in the country, while noting with concern that in recent years, many of them have been detained or forced into exile.
“Even as our Office in Burundi closes, we will continue to explore other ways to work to shed light on human rights concerns and support the advocacy, promotion and protection of human rights in the country,” she said.
“The Government has expressed its readiness to work with UN Human Rights Office after the closure of our Country Office and we stand ready to engage constructively. I also call on the Government of Burundi to cooperate with all relevant UN human rights mechanisms, including UN independent experts and human rights treaty bodies.”