ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 4, 2016 – Thirty-two (32) African Union human rights observers will be able to continue their work in Burundi for another six months after the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) transferred $2.26 million to the African Union Commission late last week, the AU and the PBF announced today.
This is the first time the PBF provides direct support to the African Union Commission and it represents a move toward strengthened cooperation between the UN and the AU in peacebuilding, in line with the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and Security Council last week, calling on the UN to strengthen its cooperation with the AU and other regional organisations.
In this latest round of financing, the PBF also supports the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi with just over $300,000 for training and joint monitoring missions with the AU.
The observers were deployed in response to the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council of 14 May 2015 and 13 June 2015, expressing its concern with the increased cases of human rights abuses in Burundi. They are tasked with observing, monitoring and documenting human rights violations in the country as well as human rights advocacy with the government.
The observers have been deployed since July 2015 with funding support from the European Union, which is also supporting the AU military experts in Burundi. The PBF funds cover 32 human rights observers’ presence from April to September 2016. Their deployment is the second step in the AU’s planned deployment of 100 human rights observers and 100 military experts.
This support builds on existing PBF financing for human rights in Burundi. Human rights have been one of the key areas of PBF support to Burundi from the initial stages of PBF engagement in 2008. The AU and the PBF welcomed this fruitful cooperation and hope that the presence of the AU human rights observers will help to reduce the violations of human rights in Burundi.
This here now will be a part of series of WikiLeaks discoveries on Burundi. For people who are not part of the Francophone world a lot of the information here will be new. Therefore I choose to drop it. It will be all pre 2010-Election in Burundi. This series will be directly about the preparation of the 2nd term of President Pierre Nkurunziza and his party the CNDD-FDD. This is part IV. Enjoy!
Radjabu and UPD history:
“Hussein Radjabu fought in the bush with President Pierre Nkurunziza and Chief of Intelligence Adolphe Nshimirimana, reportedly appointing them to the roles in the CNDD-FDD that they parlayed into their current positions. In 2002, he created the UPD-Zigamibanga as a strategic alternative when, before beginning demobilization, the CNDD-FDD was still negotiating political party registration” (…) “In February 2007, the CNDD-FDD party congress ousted Radjabu, a move most observers believe was to strengthen Nkurunziza’s control of the party. Police arrested Radjabu and a group of his supporters in April 2007, charging them with “threatening state security.” In April 2008, Radjabu was found guilty and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment (ref A); subsequent appeals have been denied. After the trial, Radjabu’s lawyer, Prosper Niyoyankana, claimed the trial did not proceed according to the rule of law, but according to the goals of the ruling party. He stated, “In this case, the judges are tools for the ruling party like a pen in the hands of a writer.” (…) “The UPD’s president is Radjabu’s cousin Mohamed Feruzi, but Radjabu is openly acknowledged as the party’s true leader. The UPD’s representative in Makamba province, Egide Ndayizeye, referred to Radjabu as the party’s “advisor,” informing PolOff during a June 24 meeting that “Father Radjabu” remains very active from jail” (…) “Nevertheless, in the past Radjabu has reportedly courted and received monetary support from donors in Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, the Sudan and Iraq” (…) “Egide Ndayizeye claims people are turning from the CNDD-FDD because of the party’s failure to fulfill its promises and to the UPD because the party promises development, peace and reconciliation. Ndayizeye stated that since the UPD’s July 2008 start in Makamba province, the party’s popularity has grown to over 80% in Nyanza-Lac and 70% in Makamba, the province’s two largest cities. Nyanza-Lac is also the fourth-largest city in Burundi” (…) “Sources indicate that Radjabu has never forgiven his former bushmates and colleagues for his expulsion and cares more that Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD falls from power than that UPD achieves any significant electoral victories for itself” (…) “Radjabu’s 13-year sentence was harsher than most observers expected, leading to speculation that President Nkurunziza’s administration used its influence to sideline and silence Radjabu (ref A) before the 2010 election process moves into high gear” (WikiLeaks, 2009).
FBI investigated the murder on Manirumva:
“Government of Burundi in investigating the murder of anti-corruption NGO OLUCOME’s vice president and chief investigator, Ernest Manirumva (ref A); the GoB accepted the offer April 21. In an April 28 meeting with Special Agent Horton and the RSO, however, Stanislas Nimpagaritse, the president of the Independent Commission assigned to investigate the case, refused to show Horton the evidence accumulated to that point, stating that he had no orders to do so” (…) “Horton and the RSO met with 1st Vice-President Yves Sahinguvu on April 29 to clarify the FBI,s role” (…) “he could to ensure that the FBI was given complete access to all evidence and received full cooperation from the Commission. He underscored the GoB,s commitment to conducting a thorough, transparent investigation, fully aided and supported by the FBI, to demonstrate that the process is genuine” (…) “The Manirumva murder has caused serious concern among the international and NGO communities, and inspired a strong sense in this conspiracy-prone nation that the government or some elements thereof are behind it. Manirumva was known to be investigating cases involving corruption at high levels among the police, intelligence services, Finance Ministry and others. Consequently, the news that the GoB had accepted the offer of FBI assistance was greeted with significant relief and hope that the real perpetrators and their masters – whoever they are – will be brought to justice” (…) “The 1st Vice President, who discussed the FBI assistance offer with President Nkurunziza, seems genuinely committed to pursuing the case wherever it leads. He clearly understood that an FBI report stating that the GoB was uncooperative in the investigation would feed the conspiracy theorists and convince the public that the government was indeed behind the assassination” (…) “Horton discovered that the victim,s cell phone records stopped at 19:00 the day of his murder, although it is believed that the murder occurred sometime after 23:00. When asked why the records did not cover the hours immediately surrounding the murder, police dismissed the records gap and stated without further explanation that the later records were somehow more difficult to obtain, and that the police were still waiting on the phone company to deliver them. One witness, however, claims that he saw a man in a police uniform at the victim,s home make a phone call to the victim,s phone well after 19:00. Similarly, the president of the Commission summarily dismissed a report from an eyewitness stating that he saw eight men, three wearing police uniforms, in the victim,s house the night of the murder. However, two informants currently external to the police investigation corroborate this story, and say that they believe the powerful intelligence service and police were involved” (…) “President Nkurunziza is using the FBI,s arms-length investigation to rid himself of the now too-powerful head of internal security Adolphe Nshimirimana (who may well be implicated); or whether the President and 1st VP genuinely want to find the murderers; the FBI is distinct value added to this process” (WikiLeaks, 2009).
Human Rights worker in the country:
“Eighty UN human rights employees work for the two administratively different but operationally seamless human rights agencies in Burundi. In addition to the 40 employees based at the headquarters in Bujumbura, 40 employees work in one of five field offices based in the interior of the country” (…) “The UN has done a great job establishing effective communication with GOB security forces. Each week, in coordination with civil society, the UN leads a meeting with police, intelligence, and military representatives to discuss and follow up on investigations and alleged human rights violations by security forces” (…) “The UN is doing extensive rehabilitation of Burundi’s judicial infrastructure throughout the country, and is providing logistical and financial assistance to the judicial branch to help expedite the overwhelming backlog of cases facing the court system. Thousands of cases remain to be handled, but thousands more have already been processed” (…) “Critics in civil society argue that the integration of the OHCHR into BINUB has prevented the UN from being more outspoken in criticizing GOB actions, as BINUB tries to limit its political exposure. For example, BINUB is part of a group of international actors negotiating the provisions of a cease-fire agreement between Burundi’s last rebel group, the FNL, and the GOB. According to one civil society critic, in order for the UN to maintain its “neutrality” in the negotiations, it cannot be overcritical of the government, lest it find itself on the wrong side of the GOB and no longer an effective negotiator” (…) “high-ranking Hutu member of President Nkurunziza’s staff told the director of UN human rights operations in Burundi that the UN and its agenda is manipulated by its mostly Tutsi local staff and therefore not reliable. Opposition parties’ representatives also told Embassy officials in January that even if UN human rights criticisms complement their own condemnations of the ruling party, it is difficult to assess if the UN has a meaningful impact” (Wikileaks, 2009).
“Minister Nduwimana’s proposal has the electoral process beginning with presidential elections and calls for multiple ballots – one for each candidate” (…) “In the 2005 elections a separate color-coded ballot was used for each candidate, which the CNDD-FDD claimed helped illiterate voters select their preferred candidates. In those elections, CNDD-FDD local leaders pressed voters to return their unused ballots, thus revealing their votes” (…) “Opposition party leaders have often predicted that the CNDD-FDD would push for presidential elections first, saying that President Nkurunziza is more popular than his party and CNDD-FDD candidates in subsequent local elections would gain momentum from Nkurunziza’s popularity. CNDD party president Leonard Nyangoma and FRODEBU spokesperson Pancrase Cimpaye informed Embassy officials on July 16 that the GoB’s proposed Electoral Code amendments, in addition to violating the spirit of the consensus-building project, also violate Burundi’s constitution” (…)”pposition party leaders have asked the international community to weigh in with the GoB and encourage it to put the consensus draft to the parliament. Some political party representatives, including FRODEBU General Secretary Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, said to EmbOff July 16 that everything should be done to prevent the government’s draft from going before parliament because, he asserted, it will cause political deadlock” (WikiLeaks, 2009).
The elected individuals of the National Independent Electoral Commission:
“The Burundian Senate and National Assembly confirmed February 13 President Nkurunziza’s nomination of five individuals to the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), voting 41-5 and 108-4 in favor, respectively” (…) “President Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, a Hutu with no party affiliation, who once served as Minister of Communication under ex-President Buyoya but has been involved with civil society since 2006” (…) “Vice-President Marguerite Bukuru, a Tutsi with no party affiliation, who served in several Ministerial positions in the early 90s” (…) “Prosper Ntahogwamiye, a Hutu, who is the Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Solidarity and a member of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) political party” (…) “Julius Bucumi, a Hutu, who is a member of the Judges Council of the Supreme Court and of the ruling CNDD-FDD political party” (…) “Adelaide Ndayirorere, a Tutsi, who is a senior staff member at the Central Bank and a member of the Union for National Progress (UPRONA) political party” (WikiLeaks, 2009).
EAC Secretariat Deputy Secretary General Beatrice Kiraso thoughts on the Elections 2010:
“shared concerns about the lack of international oversight of Burundi’s peace process and agreed on the need to establish a facilitation mechanism should things go awry in Burundi’s elections process” (…) “Per Kiraso, the electoral support mission found that Burundi’s CENI has the confidence of the population, but is lacking the capacity to coordinate all election observer activities” (…) “Kiraso reported that the EAC is tentatively planning to send a team of six to eight eminent persons to Burundi as long-term observers beginning in February 2010. In the second phase of election monitoring, the EAC proposes to send two observers to each province one month before Burundi’s May elections” (…) “Kiraso, who led the EAC mission, noted with disappointment the electoral support mission’s report had not yet been published. She reported that the November Council of Ministers insisted that the EAC’s report be endorsed by the Burundian government before publication. Tanzania, she confided, was the most opposed to publishing the report, even questioning the authority for EAC’s electoral support mission. She opined that Tanzania is concerned that the EAC is moving too fast towards regional integration. Uganda may also be nervous that a similar monitoring process might be used in its 2011 elections” (…) “Kiraso is keenly aware that the outcome of Burundi’s elections, whether positive or negative, will have regional ramifications: “The interest of the EAC is to ensure that peace and stability return permanently to the Republic of Burundi, otherwise there will be a spill-over effect on the rest of the region.” (WikiLeaks, 2010).
I hope you have enjoyed the series and that it has given you some new knowledge on Burundi. It gave me a lot. Peace.
WikiLeaks – ‘MINISTER OF INTERIOR PLAYS WITH ELECTORAL CODE’ (17.07.2009) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BUJUMBURA339_a.html
WikiLeaks – ‘RADJABU’S UPD PARTY GAINING GROUND’ (27.06.2009) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BUJUMBURA356_a.html
WikiLeaks – ‘AU SUMMIT — S/A WOLPE ENGAGES EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY ON BURUNDI ELECTIONS’ (18.02.2010) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/10ADDISABABA332_a.html
WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI LAWMAKERS VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY FOR ELECTORAL COMMISSION’ (18.02.2009) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BUJUMBURA83_a.html
WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI: UN FIELD COVERAGE OF HUMAN RIGHTS’ (03.02.2009) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BUJUMBURA60_a.html
WikiLeaks – ‘FBI INVESTIGATES MANIRUMVA MURDER’ (06.05.2009) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BUJUMBURA222_a.html