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Burundi – The fresh reports of torture from Amnesty and proof that it’s old habits from the regime in the country

Burundi Report Police

There was released a report on torture of citizens in Burundi in recent year from CSO Amnesty the 24th of August. This here has been described I will take the defining characters of this from that report, but also some older documentation to prove that this isn’t new actions from the Governmental and Security organizations in Burundi. In 2006 the Committee from International Service from Human Rights commented on the torture matters already then. After that I will look on what numbers and anti-torture project where the purpose was: “Effectively build capacity for sustainable support to victims of torture; and prevent future incidences of torture”. And the projects are telling from the USAID in the same period. USAID had also a monitoring period that ended in 2007 that gives some interesting insights to the methods of torture. United Nations has made a review of the situation when it comes to torture as well in 2014. So that Amnesty International is telling stories that everybody who cares about Human Rights should read all of the personal stories. I have taken the big picture from the report that was delivered from the organization on the 24th of August 2015. Which also shows to the works of the UN and OHCHR and describing the matters and sadness of how the police and other units treats its citizens who demonstrate against the government. It should be stopped and international community should do something about it. Though it’s an issue that is continuation from 2006 and I am sure earlier then that while in war, an CNDD-FDD promised to lead with the USAID projects to shun this activities, but certainly hasn’t with the reports released recently. Read under the quotes and outtakes from a set of reports and some of the pieces from Amnesty.

Reports from 2005 and so on:

“The Committee criticised the lack of a definition of torture in Burundian domestic legislation. The delegation admitted that while Burundi officially endorses the definition contained in the Convention, their criminal code does not define torture, nor is torture as such criminalised. In practice, torture is treated as an ‘aggravating circumstance’ and pursued on the basis of ‘infliction of bodily harm’” (…)”Both country rapporteurs underlined that the legislation prohibiting torture must not only cover physical torture (which is the case as long as torture is prosecuted under the category of ‘bodily harm’), but needs to extend to psychological and mental torture. The Committee drew the delegation’s attention to the obligation States have to initiate investigations into cases of torture. Mr Camara said that given the lack of a domestic legal basis, prosecutors in Burundi did not have a clear incentive to investigate cases of torture” (…)”the National Intelligence Service (NIS). It is responsible for the collection of date in order to protect the state security of Burundi. It can also carry out police functions and arrest people. According to the State report, the NIS is one of the main institutions involved in cases of torture. The Committee repeatedly expressed concern about this situation. Mr Mariño said the NIS seemed to have a dual mandate and be responsible for political oppression; it needed to be reformed, monitored and made accountable to the judiciary. Mr Camara asked if NIS officers could be sanctioned by the PPS; the delegation confirmed this with reference to ongoing cases. The delegation agreed that the NIS had too many prerogatives and specifically asked for recommendations on how to curb its power” (…)”In reference to the prohibition of the use of evidence obtained through torture, the delegation referred to a supreme court judgement which prohibits such evidence from being used in court. However, a Committee member pointed out that this particular decision is ambiguous since it says that “a confession is not proof in itself, but merely a piece of evidence that must be corroborated by other evidence”. The Committee felt this could be construed so that evidence extracted through torture could be used if supported by other evidence (Human Rights Series, 2006).

Turning to concrete cases, some Committee members asked about further information on a massacre which had taken place at Gatumba. The delegation responded by saying that it had issued a report which attributed the responsibility for the massacre to members of the armed movement PALIPEHUTU-FNL” (Human Rights Monitor Series, 2006).

What USAID has worked on a long while and had programs with:

“IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Search for Common Ground (SF CG), Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS), Ligue ITE KA, Association pour la Protection des Droits Humains et des Personnes Détenues (APROD H)

FUNDING PERIOD: March 2003–September 2005

AMOUNT: $1,700,000

PURPOSE: Effectively build capacity for sustainable support to victims of torture; and prevent future incidences of torture” (Victims of Torture Fund, USAID, 2005-2006).

Trauma healing: Eighteen Healing Memory Group activities (785 participants) held to provide psychological healing for victims. 372 victims of torture received psychological support and 567 received medical services; 289 referred to partners; 750 transported to medical facilities (Victims of Torture Fund, USAID, 2005-2006).

Social Reintegration: Twenty-seven victims associations created. Thirteen ongoing series of monthly healing sessions/retreats with 1,636 participants (Victims of Torture, USAID, 2005-2006)

Funding/Year 2002 2004 2005 Total
USD In:  Thousands of Dollars 1,200 500 1,200 2,900

(Victims of Torture, USAID, 2005-2006)

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USAID has continued to follow up the country and reports on Torture between October 2007 – September 2011. Here is their findings and what they have received of information on the matter: “Human rights. The project worked to strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organizations, particularly those focused on women, to advocate for gender-based violence, victims of torture, and conflict management. By launching campaigns and engaging in effective discourse with the government and the media, civil society groups were able to open up about the sensitive and often dangerous nature of supporting human rights, which led to increased awareness and understanding” (…)”Victims of torture. In Burundi, torture continues to be practiced and victims have had little recourse because those in positions of authority, such as public security agents, presidential police, soldiers, local government officials, and rebel groups have all practiced torture without being held accountable for their actions. Through its activities, the project has been able to help Burundians open up a public dialogue and raise awareness about the problem of torture, a subject that over the years had become taboo in many parts of society” (…)”Victims of torture consortium. One organization cannot influence change alone, and working in the anti-corruption or human rights arena can be dangerous. Thus to strengthen advocacy against torture in Burundi, the project convened civil society organizations working in human rights and torture to start a dialogue on what is needed in this area and propose the idea of creating a consortium. The project worked via the consortium structure to coordinate these various and extensive activities. At subsequent meetings, the number of civil society organizations more than doubled and by the time the consortium, Consortium Action Contre la Torture (CACT), was incorporated it represented most of Burundian civil society working in human rights, with 26 organizations and government entities. The consortium, designed to coordinate advocacy for the eradication of torture in Burundi, identified priorities for reform when the consortium was first formed” (…)”Victims of torture grants. The project allocated 18 grants to civil society organizations in Year 2; eight of them provided medical and legal assistance to 453 victims of torture. The project provided medical, psychosocial healing, and legal and judicial assistance. The grants were provided to organizations with previous experience in this area, and they were able to work in cooperation with other grantees as well as in the consortium against torture. The most pressing need for a victim of torture is medical assistance. Many victims are debilitated or prevented from working due to the injuries, and others live with the physical scars and residual pain. The assistance consisted of providing victims medicine, hospitalization, and specialized care. Seven grantees provided medical assistance to victims in various provinces. One example of the medical services provided by grantees is the work done by ACAT, an organization that carried out medical services in 26 communes” (…)”In addition to being physically traumatic, torture is also emotionally and psychologically traumatic. Even if physical scars heal, there are lasting psychological effects. The project created a support group that fostered an atmosphere of empathy, affection, and security that victims greatly appreciated — especially significant because most victims never dared to speak about their experiences” (…)”In Year 4, project grantee ABDP-DRS advocated for the use of alternative sentencing to imprisonment in accordance with a law of 2009. By meeting with decision-makers, including prison authorities, police, and judges to present data from a survey, ABDP-DRS was able to provide information on alternative sentencing. It also organized prison visits so that police and judges could see the current conditions of the prisons to which they were sentencing perpetrators. Action Chrétien Contre la Torture (ACAT) also received a grant to continue advocating decision-makers and judiciary actors. ACAT equipped judges, judiciary police, and prison officers with information gained during site visits of detention centers in 11 provinces to evaluate the torture cases, living conditions for detainees, and the application of the penal code regarding torture” (Burundi Policy Final Reform, 2007).

When we see earlier what the UN has scaled on the State of torture in the State of the Burundi. The UN commented this on the issues that were at hand in 2014:

Legislative measures for the prevention of torture

  1. While noting that an absolute prohibition of torture is established in the Constitution, the Committee is concerned at the numerous shortcomings of the organization and command structure of the country’s security services, particularly the Burundian National Police (Police nationale du Burundi) and the National Intelligence Service (Service national de renseignement). These services are still governed by presidential decrees, whereas the Constitution provides that they be governed by the necessary legal framework. While noting that article 31 of the State party’s Criminal Code establishes that an order from a superior officer cannot be used as an argument by the defence in a case of torture, the Committee remains concerned about the effective implementation of that provision (arts. 2, 6 and 16)” (United Nations, 2014).

The United Nations continues with this:

“The absolute prohibition of torture” (…)”The State party should, as a matter of urgency, take steps to incorporate provisions into its Military Criminal Code that establish that acts of torture and ill-treatment committed by military personnel constitute an offence, that such offences are not subject to any statute of limitations and that the sentences for such offences are irreducible. The provisions to be incorporated into the Code should also establish appropriate penalties” (…) “The Committee is alarmed by credible, corroborative and persistent reports of a large number of acts of torture and extrajudicial killings committed by members of the Burundian National Police and the National Intelligence Service. It is concerned about the slow pace and limited scope of the investigations and judicial proceedings that have been opened in this connection, which would appear to corroborate claims that the perpetrators of these acts enjoy impunity. The Committee also finds it regrettable that no information about cases that have gone to trial or the outcome of those trials has been forthcoming. It is also concerned at the absence of protection for victims and witnesses, who are subject to reprisals (arts. 2, 4, 6, 7, 12 and 14)” (…)”The Committee is alarmed at the appalling conditions of detention in places of deprivation of liberty. It deplores, in particular: the high levels of prison overcrowding; the failure to separate male prisoners from female prisoners, adults from minors and persons awaiting trial from those already sentenced; the shortage of beds and sleeping space; the poor sanitary conditions; the dilapidated state of the facilities; prisoners’ inadequate and unbalanced diet; and the lack of health care. It further deplores the death of 263 inmates, inter-prisoner violence and the sexual violence against women and minors perpetrated by other inmates and guards. Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the continuing practice, in the State party, of detaining patients in hospital for non-payment of fees” (…)”While taking note of the fact that article 289 of the new Code of Criminal Procedure provides for the compensation of victims of torture, the Committee expresses its concern at the failure to apply this provision, in violation of article 14 of the Convention” (…) “The restrictions on the right of assembly and demonstration imposed by law enforcement bodies and reports of cases involving the violent suppression of demonstrations resulting in the excessive use of force by the authorities, for example during the protests of March 2014” (…)“The serious human rights violations perpetrated by a youth group (referred to as the Imbonerakure) with close ties to the Government, including: the harassment of political opponents; the disruption of public meetings, acts of intimidation, arbitrary arrests and arbitrary detention and other acts of violence; and the use of so-called “amicable” arrangements for settling disputes. The Committee is deeply concerned by reports that the Government is providing this group with weapons and training” (United Nations, 2014).

brigade_de_recherche_et_dintervention_judiciaire

Amnesty has in recent reports on how the torture has been from May 2015:

“Both the SNR and the Burundian National Police (PNB) are responsible for torture and other ill-treatment. Former detainees described being beaten with branches, iron bars, and police batons; and being stomped on, threatened with death, denied medical care, and verbally abused. In one particularly horrific case, a five-litre container full of sand was hung from a man’s testicles, causing enormous pain and swelling, and then the man was made to sit in a shallow layer of what he believed was battery acid, burning his skin severely” (…) “In and after the demonstration in April 2015 this has happen: “The police response to the demonstrations was marked by a pattern of serious violations, including of the right to life, freedom of association and peaceful assembly. They used excessive and disproportionate force, including lethal force, against protesters, at times shooting unarmed demonstrators running away from them. Even where children were present during demonstrations, police still failed to exercise restraint, and used tear gas and live ammunition” (…)”The cases of torture and other ill-treatment under SNR detention documented here all took place at the SNR compound near Bujumbura’s cathedral” (…)”In early June, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi told Amnesty International they had documented nearly 50 cases of torture and other ill-treatment. On 7 July, the UN Secretary General’s report on the electoral observation mission in Burundi stated that “some 307 people have been arrested, including 14 minors. Most of those arrested have been subjected to torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by security officers (mainly police and intelligence agents)” (…)”According to information received from lawyers, when individuals previously held by the SNR have alleged torture before court, the evidence obtained under such circumstances did not appear to have been declared invalid in spite of clear provisions in the Burundian Code of Criminal Procedure. To date, there is no investigation and nobody has been arrested for torture at the SNR” (…) “However, the Burundian Code of Criminal Procedure makes provision for a detainee to remain silent if his lawyer is not present and for a detainee to communicate freely with his lawyer.16 A leading Burundian human rights organization, the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained People (APRODH), is no longer granted access to the SNR’s compound. At least one detainee says that he signed a document under duress” (…)”A man held at the SNR was also told by other detainees that the Imbonerakure had given information to the police for their capture” (…)”several testimonies of torture and other ill-treatment at a place known as Chez Ndadaye in Bujumbura. According to a policeman and UN human rights monitors, Chez Ndadaye is an operational command centre for the police.36 It is known as Chez Ndadaye because the presidential palace that housed President Melchior Ndadaye, the country’s first democratically elected president and first Hutu president, once stood there” (…)”According to the first policeman and two victims, demonstrators were not kept overnight at Chez Ndadaye, but were beaten there before being transferred to the judicial police and/or police stations” (…)”The OHCHR carried out a planned visit to Chez Ndadaye on 12 June 2015, but did not observe any torture or beatings at the time” (…)”One policeman told Amnesty International some policemen are frustrated by the situation. He explained: “Several policemen are not happy about what takes place at Chez Ndadaye and have complained to their superiors. Most of the perpetrators are those who were previously in the bush (ex-FDD). They beat protestors. Maybe around 10 people came through Chez Ndadaye every day. Police used their batons and electric wires to beat them. They’d say ‘you who are against Nkurunziza, you are wasting your time, he’ll be president forever’,” (Amnesty, 2015).

Aftermath:

I don’t really want to comment more on the issues. Because the reports on reports are really telling its own tale, I will not add much on it. Then it’s a sad story of real men and woman who is scared and hurt for their position in society. That the UN, USAID, OHCHR and Amnesty reports from 2006-2015 is telling a vivid stories and painful facts. Too many victims of the government and police of Burundi, they all deserve a voice, they all deserve justice and a society where this wouldn’t happen. Instead the Police and Government of Burundi is going after their own people without prosecution and trial. Putting them in shackles, pushing them in cells and hurting them in places like Chez Ndadaye in Bujumbura and that is not the only house and police institution that is being used in a vile place. So no matter what people are being unjustified threaten and punished by the police and security forces in Burundi. There should be something the world could do to stop this systematic and unjust ways. Not just in writing and councils reviews of the United Nations, but in actual forum that can change the President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and the regime of the country. That is the issue and it’s not easy especially with the ways that the president got “elected” into the third term. Pierre Nkurunziza will always be remembered in a unique way and essentially with the shunned sworn-in celebration in mid-August 2015. An also for the reports of torture that the police and security organizations are doing as well in his presidency as well, which isn’t a beautiful view. Peace.

Reference:

AFR 16/2298/2015 – ‘“JUST TELL ME WHAT TO CONFESS TO”, TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT BY BURUNDI’S POLICE AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SINCE APRIL 2015’ (24.08.2015) – Amnesty International

CAT/C/BDI/CO/2 – ‘Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Burundi’, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee on Torture (12.12.2014) – United Nations

Human Rights Monitor Series – ‘COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE 37TH SESSION BURUNDI, INITIAL REPORT’ (2006), International Service for Human Rights

‘BURUNDI UNDER REVIEW BY UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW: RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING JUSTICE MATTERS’, Commonwealth Human Rights Intiative

USAID – ‘BURUNDI POLICY REFORM FINAL REPORT October 2007 – September 2011 (12.09.2011) – This publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by Chemonics International.

USAID – ‘VICTIMS OF TORTURE FUND PORTFOLIO SYNOPSIS 2005–2006’, Victims of Torture Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development

President Pierre Nkurunziza (CNDD-FDD) is elected for the third term in Burundi and the EAC Election Observer Mission – Preliminary Statement on the Election

Burundi Election result 2015

 

Today the results came from the Electoral Commission in Burundi wasn’t unexpected. We all knew that would happen. It’s not really much to say. We all expected it and there wasn’t really much news value in that. Other than the Government of Burundi will go into an uncertain future. With People of Burundi will not recognizing that Pierre Nkurunzia is again for the third time president of the Country. The president can use the High Court judgement, but that doesn’t stop the foreign pressure or local dissidence. The situation will be fragmented and sore wound after the violence want give more legitimacy to the President of Burundi. EAC had Election Observation Mission on the Election Day and has followed the election apparently. While the African Union and European Union suspended their missions and observers to it. So that they wanted to show that they didn’t’ want legitimacy to the actions of the president. There been oppressive actions towards the opposition in the country after the Coup d’état in the country. I think that the Preliminary Statement of the Election is worthy for everybody who follow Burundi show read it. Enjoy. Peace.

The East African Community deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to the Republic of Burundi for the 21 July 2015 Presidential Election. Hon. Abubakar Zein, a Member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), was the Head of the Mission and has released the Preliminary Statement of the Mission as below:

The East African Community Election Observation Mission to the Presidential Election of 21 July 2015 in the Republic of Burundi – PRELIMINARY STATEMENT, Bujumbura, 23 July 2015-

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. In response to the invitation by the Independent National Electoral Commission of Burundi (CENI); the Standing Decision of the East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers to observe elections in all EAC Partner States and the Decision of the 3rd EAC Emergency Summit on Burundi of 6 July 2015, the EAC deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to the Republic of Burundi for the 21 July 2015 Presidential Election.
  1. The EAC EOM was led by Hon. Abubakar Zein, a Member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and comprised 25 members drawn from the EALA, National Electoral Management Bodies, National Human Rights Commissions, Ministries of EAC Affairs, and Civil Society Organizations from four EAC Partner States namely the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda. The Mission deployed seven teams to observe the polling and counting processes in Bujumbura, Gitega, Ngozi, Kirundo, Mwaro, Muramvya, Karuzi, Muyinga, Rumonge, Bururi and Makamba Provinces.
  1. The EAC has followed the Burundi electoral process since January 2015 through consultative sessions by the EAC Eminent Persons (PEP), Pre-Election Assessment Mission (PEMi), the EAC Council of Ministers and EAC Emergency Summits. Through these initiatives, the EAC, while appreciating the state of affairs, identified challenges facing the electoral process and made appropriate recommendations. The Mission’s findings are also informed by the report of the aforementioned initiatives.
  1. This statement contains preliminary findings, recommendations and conclusions made by the Mission based on independent observation, interaction with electoral stakeholders including the CENI, political parties, civil society organizations, security agencies, and the media, among others. As the electoral process is still ongoing, this statement limits itself to the assessment made up to the polling and results counting processes. In due course, the Mission will avail a more detailed final report on the electoral process in Burundi through the EAC policy organs.
  1. PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

General Political Context

  1. The political context of the 2015 presidential election has been characterized by the controversy surrounding the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza’s candidature for a third term. This was viewed by some actors as a violation of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 2000 and the Constitution 2005 of Burundi. Other actors maintained that the first term did not count thus, the incumbent qualifies to vie in the 2015 presidential election. The incumbent’s nomination on 25 April 2015 sparked demonstrations in Bujumbura and some parts of the country which turned violent.
  1. The confirmation of the incumbent’s candidature by the Constitutional Court resulted in the deterioration of security situation and the prevailing political impasse in the country. There were persistent violent protests and an attempted coup d’état on 13 May 2015 which resulted in scores of deaths and deterioration of the human rights situation in the country. From the foregoing background, there was an influx of refugees estimated to be around 150,000, some of whom were registered voters, to neighboring countries including the Republic of Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  1. Successive dialogues mediated by the Joint International Facilitation Team comprising the EAC, African Union, United Nations and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) were convened between Government, opposition representatives and other stakeholders in order to resolve the political stalemate. There were three successive EAC Emergency Summits on the situation in Burundi, and subsequent appointment of President Yoweri Museveni of the Republic of Uganda to facilitate a High Level Political Dialogue in a bid to resolve the political stalemate. The Mission noted that the Political Dialogue was postponed on the eve of the election without consensus.
  1. The presidential election which was initially scheduled to take place on 26 June 2015 was postponed to 15 July 2015 following a request by the EAC 2nd Emergency Summit and eventually to 21 July 2015. The 3rd EAC Emergency Summit requested for a delay until 30 July 2015 in order to allow for dialogue and consensus building on contentious issues among all the stakeholders.
  1. Lack of political consensus on key issues on the electoral process during the High Level Dialogue including the election calendar, insecurity, the candidature of the incumbent president, return of refugees, media freedoms and civil liberties, perpetuated uncertainty and fear. This state of affairs contributed to some opposition candidates withdrawing from the presidential race.

Legal and Institutional Framework

  1. The 2015 presidential election is governed by the Constitution 2005 and a set of laws regulations and decrees. The Constitution provides for fundamental rights and freedoms which are important for the participation of citizens in the electoral process. Article 8 of the Constitution provides for election by equal and universal suffrage. The suffrage is also extended to the citizens in diaspora thereby guaranteeing their enfranchisement.
  1. Whilst the framework is adequate for the conduct of democratic elections in Burundi, there have been violations of the fundamental civil and political rights that limited citizen participation in the electoral process. For instance, the attempted coup d’état heightened the closure of several private media outlets thereby impacting on the rights to freedom of expression. Similarly, this denied the citizens an alternative source of information that is critical in making an informed choice in the election.
  1. The amendment of the Electoral Code 2014, introduced the use of a single ballot paper that replaced the multiple ballot system. The Mission is of the opinion that this reform is a positive measure as it is able to contribute to enhancing the secrecy of the ballot as well as the overall cost of administration of elections but needed to be accompanied by adequate voter education.
  1. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) is the election management body in Burundi comprising five commissioners who are appointed by the President subject to approval of the National Assembly. While CENI enjoys constitutional independence, it does not enjoy the confidence of a substantial proportion of stakeholders. The desertion of the Vice President and one Commissioner as well as withdrawal of members of the Catholic Church from the CENI structures in May 2015 impacted on public’s perception on the credibility of CENI.
  1. The Constitutional Court has the jurisdiction to arbitrate election disputes for Presidential and legislative elections in Burundi. It is also tasked with announcement of final election results for presidential election. While the Court constitutionally enjoys independence and impartiality, the desertion of the Vice President of the Court impacted on public’s perception on the credibility of the Court.

Voter Registration and Voters’ Roll

  1. There were a total of 3,849,728 registered voters for the 2015 elections. The first voter registration exercise was conducted between November and December 2014. The CENI made efforts to enfranchise more voters in March 2015 through a partial voter registration upon the request of political parties and also allowed for inspection of the voters’ roll by the parties.
  1. The Mission noted that the two-step voter registration process was operationally cumbersome. The registrants were issued with a récépissé (waiting slip) and were later to be issued with a voter’s card. The two-step process affected the distribution of the voter cards as the cards had not been distributed by 26 May 2015, being the initial date of parliamentary and communal elections before the postponement of polls.

Election Campaign

  1. All political parties and candidates should be allowed to campaign freely as per the law and with due regard to expression of fundamental freedoms of association, assembly and speech in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to the Electoral Code, the election campaign lasts for 14 days.
  1. The campaign environment was generally tense and characterized by fear and uncertainty. The political stalemate surrounding the candidature of the incumbent president, concerns relating to the security of candidates and their supporters and the subsequent postponement of polls impacted the electoral process and implementation of the campaign calendar.
  1. Some candidates to the presidential election participated in the political dialogue aimed at resolving the political stalemate, a process that took place during the campaign period. This impacted on the candidates’ ability to solicit for votes and for the voters to make informed decisions on leaders of their choice. This uncertainty was further accentuated by the reported withdrawal of some candidates from the presidential race, a few days before the polls.

Media environment

  1. An already constrained media in a shrinking democratic space was further affected by the attempted coup d état. The media environment during the electoral process was affected by the ongoing political stalemate. During the period of the failed coup d’état, five private media outlets were destroyed on 13 and 14 May 2015, namely, Radio and Television REMA, Radio and Television Renaissance, Radio Isanganiro, Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), and Radio Sans Frontiere Bonesha FM. The limited access to alternative sources of information apart from the State broadcaster, especially during the electioneering period, limited space for pluralistic ideas and impacted upon the playing field among political competitors. This in turn constrained the options for voters to be adequately informed on the electoral process and make informed choices.

Security Environment

  1. The Presidential election in Burundi was held against a backdrop of a tense and violent pre-election period. April to June 2015 witnessed some of the most violent incidents, including a failed coup d’état. Arising from the observed pattern of behaviour over the period, and following a risk assessment mapping, it was noted that the Provinces of Cibitoke, Bubanza and Kayanza had experienced unprecedented violence over the three weeks preceding the presidential polls.
  1. On the eve of the polls, there were incidents of shooting, grenade attack and subsequent reports of three deaths in Bujumbura which heightened fear among the population. It was also noted that within Bujumbura city, the following areas were restive with unpredictable security environment: Cibitoke, Mutakura, Buterere, Ngagara, Jabe, Nyakabiga, Kanyosha and Musaga. The Mission did not deploy observers in the above captioned regions as a result of the unpredictable security environment. However, there was relative calm in other parts of the country.

Civic and Voter Education

  1. The conduct of civic and voter education had challenges and was exacerbated by insufficient funding. The withdrawal of funding by development partners impacted on the voter education which led to reprioritization of resources by the Government of Burundi. In this regard, the Mission noted that voter education initiatives were minimal despite CENI having introduced a single ballot paper of which voters needed to be adequately educated.

Polling and Counting Processes

  1. The EAC observers visited a total of 80 polling stations. The polling process was generally calm and peaceful. Whereas most stations opened on time, some opened later than the stipulated time of 6:00am. In some stations, voting had not started as late as 10.00 am. In Bujumbura, anxiety over insecurity and late arrival of election materials impacted on the timely opening of the polls.
  1. In most polling stations visited, polling personnel were present and election materials were in adequate quantity. The polling personnel generally managed the polling process in a professional manner. Apart from the CNDD-FDD party agents who were present in all stations visited by the EAC Observers, there was a notable absence of party agents of most opposition political parties despite the obligatory requirement by Electoral Code.
  1. Beside the EAC observers, the Mission noted the presence of domestic observers and international observers from the MENUB, ICGLR, as well as embassies of Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. Most polling stations closed at 4pm as stipulated in the Electoral Code. The counting process took place immediately after the closure of the polls and registered no incident in all polling stations visited by EAC observers.
  1. The EAC observers noted that the voter turnout was generally ranged from low to average in most polling stations visited.    

PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Based on the above findings, the EAC Election Observation Mission to the 21 July 2015 presidential election makes the following recommendations:  

a) To All National Stakeholders: 

Pursue an all-inclusive and honest dialogue in order to find a sustainable solution to the political impasse prevailing in Burundi.

b) To the Government: Ensure that peace and security is guaranteed for all citizens of Burundi; Undertake measures to ensure that law and order is maintained in a manner that uphold respect for human rights;

iii. Ensure that there is adequate funding for the conduct of elections;

– Undertake measures to ensure safe return and reintegration of refugees in Burundi;

– Undertake capacity building measures to strengthen and enhance the efficiency of governance institutions to promote sustainable democratic development;

– Enhance the capacity of security agencies in respecting the fundamental human rights of the citizens while maintaining law order;

vii. Undertake measures to remove restrictions on media freedom and allow private media.

c) To Parliament:

– Pursue legal and institutional reforms aimed at safeguarding the independence of the CENI and the Judiciary;

– Delink the registration of political parties from the Ministry of Interior.

d) To CENI: 

– Consider merging of voter registration and issuance of voters cards in order to enhance operational efficiency and minimize the challenges experienced in the 2015 electoral process;

– Undertake voter education in collaboration with relevant stakeholders to enhance public awareness and participation in electoral processes.

e) To the East African Community: 

Continue engagement with all stakeholders to find a sustainable solution to the prevailing political impasse in the country.

 f) To the International Community: 

Sustain engagement with the Government and all national stakeholders in order to address the prevailing political, social and economic challenges in the country.

CONCLUSION: 

The people of Burundi have enjoyed relative peace since the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 2000, which constitutes the bedrock for building democracy, sustainable peace and development in the country. The Mission notes that the electoral period has been characterised by anxiety and uncertainty. The Mission notes with concern that successive efforts to build consensus through inclusive dialogue among Burundi stakeholders have not been successful.

  1. The Mission noted that there was relative peace on the polling day. However, the principle of choice was generally hampered by among others, insecurity ( a general feeling of fear and despondency in some parts of the country), confinement of democratic space, civil liberties including freedom of speech, assembly, media, campaigning and the boycott by opposition parties.
  1. The electoral process fell short of the principles and standards for holding free, fair, peaceful, transparent and credible elections as stipulated in various international, continental as well as the EAC Principles of Election Observation and Evaluation.
  1. The EAC Observation Mission urges all stakeholders to maintain calm and to re-engage in candid and inclusive dialogue in order to find sustainable solution to the political impasse prevailing in Burundi.
  1. The Mission would like to thank and extend its profound gratitude to the people and the Government of Burundi, CENI and MENUB for their cooperation during the mission.

Issued at Royal Palace Hotel, Bujumbura this 23 July 2015

Signed by

…………………………………………

Hon. Zein Abubakar

Head of Mission

Vuyo Mvoko updates on the Burundian Elections (Youtube-Clip)

Here are international statements on todays voting and Presidential elections in Burundi

BurundiNTVNews

You can see usual suspect Didier Reynders from Belgium speaking on the country again. U.S. has to speak and does say it softly. Canada’s foreign affairs also had an opinion on the election. Red Cross is concerned about the refugee situation concerning the violence in Burundi and how it affects the bordering countries and their refugee camps.

Kenyan TV report:  – This is from today and is a Youtube clip.

U.S. Response:

“The legitimacy of the electoral process in Burundi over the past few months has been tainted by the government’s harassment of opposition and civil society members, closing down of media outlets and political space, and intimidation of voters. Dozens have been killed, and as many as 167,000 Burundians are now refugees in neighboring nations” (…) “Attempts by the Government of Burundi to deny citizens the ability to choose their leadership freely, without intimidation and threat of violence, will force the United States to carefully review all aspects of our partnership not yet suspended, including the imposition of visa restrictions on those responsible for — or complicit in — promoting instability in Burundi through violence” (Kirby, 2015).

Belgium response:

“Didier Reynders deeply regrets the organisation of presidential elections in Burundi, today 21 July. These elections do not meet the minimal requirements of inclusiveness and transparency. They are not credible and will not contribute to a solution for the crisis in the country” (…) “Belgium calls on Burundi to revive the spirit of consensus and inclusiveness of the Arusha agreement, that is still the cornerstone for constitutional order and stability in Burundi” (Reynders, 2015).

Canada response:

MP for Foreign Affairs Rob Nicholson says: ““His bid has unleashed instability and violence characterized by the unrestrained use of force by militias acting with total impunity, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. Close to 170,000 Burundians—including prominent members of government and key democratic institutions as well as journalists—have fled to neighbouring countries fearing for their lives. Dozens of people have already died in violence related to the political unrest” (…) “Canada calls on President Nkurunziza and his government to protect the rights and interests of all Burundians and work with the East African Community and the African Union in accordance with the Arusha Peace Accords” (Quinney, 2015).

EAC response:

“he EAC Election Observer Mission started arriving in the Republic of Burundi on 17th July 2015 and underwent briefing on Election Observation Methodologies and from CENI” (…) “The EAC Election Observer Mission was deployed today, 20th July 2015 to various Provinces of Burundi to observe the polling and counting processes” (…) “The EAC has been involved in the Burundi Electoral process since January 2015 through the Panel of Eminent Persons (PEP), Pre-Election Expert Mission (PEMi), the Council of Ministers, and the Summit of the EAC Heads of State” (EAC, 2015).

Red Cross fears:

“In one day alone, more than 30 malnourished Burundian children were admitted and showing secondary complications including malaria, pneumonia, worms, anemia and diarrhea. At least four known deaths of malnourished infants have been recorded so far” (…) “Burundian Presidential elections, set to take placed on Tuesday, July 21st. An estimated 25,000 people have fled to the Tanzanian border camp in the last month alone, bringing the total number of Burundian refugees to around 78,000; a fifth of which are thought to be children under five” (…) “Tensions are running high between new arrivals and the long-established refugee population from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), most of whom arrived in 1996 following the Rwandan genocide and the subsequent regional instability” (Carrol, 2015).

Last thought: 

Hope you found this interesting while the voting and polling is coming. I can’t wait to see what the EAC report on the election says and we all know kind of already what result will be. The numbers is the thing we wonder about. But the winner and third term is happening because like for instans the opposition parties Agathon Rwasa FNL has pulled out and so has other parties done. So you can just see what happens and it sure will be the winner of Presidential Election of 2015. The third term of the CNDD-FDD… so many means is breaking with the Arusha Peace Agreement of 2006. Well, Pierre doesn’t agree and doesn’t care. He is on the Power Kool-Aid and can’t have enough. All of the people of Burundi don’t all agree with the President Nkurunziza. Peace.

Reference:

Carrol, Phil – ‘Child Malnutrition Levels Soar in Tanzanian Refugee Camp as Burundian Presidential Election Approaches’ (21.07.2015) link: http://www.savethechildren.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=8rKLIXMGIpI4E&b=9241315&ct=14743281

EAC – ‘EAC Election Observer Mission to the Presidential Elections in the Republic of Burundi’ (20.07.2015) link: http://eac.int/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1916:eac-election-observer-mission-to-the-presidential-elections-in-the-republic-of-burundi&catid=146:press-releases&Itemid=194&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Kirby, Jon – ‘Elections in Burundi Will Lack Credibility’ (21.07.2015) link: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/07/245104.htm

Reynders, Didier – ‘Didier Reynders regrets the organisation of presidential elections in Burundi today 21 July’ (21.07.2015) link: https://appablog.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/didier-reynders-regrets-the-organisation-of-presidential-elections-in-burundi-today-21-july/

Quinney, Johanna – ‘Canada Condemns Use of Violence for Political Goals in Burundi Ahead of Election (21.07.2015) Link: http://foreignaffairs.co.nz/2015/07/21/canada-condemns-use-of-violence-for-political-goals-in-burundi-ahead-of-election/#sthash.A17ljQ8C.dpuf

WikiLeaks Series – Pre-2010 General Election in Burundi: Part Three

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 III. Enjoy!

 Peace talks:

“SAG Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, to discuss recent developments concerning the possible resumption of peace talks between the CNDD-FDD government and the Palipehutu-FNL after a six month stalemate” (…) “Mamabolo appeared to lay equal blame on both sides for the most recent stalemate. The FNL, Mamabolo believes, was never really ready to compromise. Instead, he suspects the FNL backed out of the last peace deal because they wanted more time to collect weapons and recruit more soldiers in order to ensure themselves higher-ranking positions in the military” (…) “Mamabolo also said Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s refusal to offer cabinet-level positions, Ambassadorships, or Directorships to the FNL contributed to the breakdown of past negotiations” (…) “Mamabolo mentioned several times as an example of a good faith measure that Nkurunziza could “make up a cabinet position like Minister of State,” for FNL leader Agathon Rwasa” (…) “Tanzanian President Kikwete “realizes that Mamabolo is biased and that past negotiations have been unfair.” (…) “Mamabolo described Rwasa as a “figure-head like Mandela is to the ANC; the party needed his buy-in even though he was not always pulling the strings.” Mamabolo believes that FNL Spokesperson Pasteur Habimana is instead pulling the strings” (…) “The SAG was granted on 03 February a twelve-month extension from the African Union to continue peace negotiations between the CNDD-led government and the FNL. Mamabolo said the SAG is looking at integrating all factions of the FNL within the next six months and then assessing when SAG troops can come home” (WikiLeaks, 2008).

Peace Talks Part II:

“Mamabolo said he was “optimistic” about the prospects for peace. For the first time, the South African Facilitation team is meeting with FNL commanders “from the bush,” which Mamabolo takes as a sign of seriousness on the part of the FNL. However, the FNL continues to raise some difficult demands, including the two key issues of (1) integration of senior FNL leaders into GOB political structures, and (2) integration of FNL combatants into the Burundian military, including the military leadership” (…) “Mamabolo noted that it would be difficult for President Nkurunziza to “give” the FNL ministries, since other parties — who already are unhappy with the power-sharing arrangements — would cry foul. Nkurunziza is “hiding behind the Constitution” to avoid these unsavory political choices” (…) “He noted that elections are scheduled for 2010, so this would be merely a transitional arrangement. As an aside, Mamabolo said that he believes the FNL has popular support and might do well in the 2010 elections. On military integration, Nkurunziza said that the CNDD-FDD “left room” for the FNL in the military structures, so that military integration should not be too difficult” (…) “After a rocky patch in late 2007, the South African Facilitation appears to have repaired its relationship with the FNL and is committed to concluding the peace process in 2008, in part because the SAG is tired of paying for the deployment of 750 troops in Burundi” (WikiLeaks, 2008).

UN on Peace Talks:

“The US appreciates the efforts by the UN Integrated Office of Burundi, Executive Representative for Burundi Youssef Mahmoud, and the Peacebuilding Commission to enhance stability and security in Burundi” (…) “First, we are hopeful that negotiations this month between Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza and rebel group PALIPEHUTU-FNL Chairman Agathon Rwasa will remove stumbling blocks to the stalled peace process” (…) “South Africa,s mandate to conclude the peace process expiring on December 31, 2008, we share South Africans optimism that the peace process will be concluded by that point” (…) “Secondly, the U.S. is pleased to recall Burundi,s generally free and fair 2005 elections. As Burundi prepares for national elections in 2010, we encourage the government and civil society to create the mechanisms necessary to: — establish a transparent, impartial and inclusive Electoral Commission; — educate Burundi,s people concerning their rights and obligations in a democratic society; — promote active debate and dialogue among political parties, constituents and civil society; and — support an independent and unbiased media” (…) “the U.S. commends the efforts of the Government of Burundi, UNHCR and partner agencies to repatriate and reintegrate Burundi refugees. The U.S. will continue to support UNHCR,s Burundi repatriation program as well as the activities of non-governmental organizations providing reintegration assistance to Burundi returnees” (…) “we encourage the technical committee for the National Consultations on Transitional Justice to keep the public informed about its work and to ensure that its membership reflects the diversity of Burundi’s political parties and civil society” (WikiLeaks, 2008).

Wise Man Council:

“In order to successfully negotiate with the FNL, the Bashingatahe representatives recommended that President Nkurunziza become personally involved in negotiations, and that the international community vigorously support such efforts. Further, the representatives stated the Burundian public needs to take ownership of the problem with the FNL and encourage Burundi’s leaders to resolve the current dispute between the government and the rebels” (…) “Bashingatahe representatives counseled that while the 2010 election campaign is already underway, peace with the FNL is essential to assuring that 2010 elections are free and fair. In addition to concluding a peace agreement with the rebels, the GOB must establish a transparent, neutral and independent electoral commission that can responsibly ensure a transparent electoral process. Voter education and preparation is another important requirement for guaranteeing a free and democratic election, as the principles of democracy and political campaigning are new to many Burundian citizens” (WikiLeaks, 2008).

Afterthought:

The way the information about the Peace Talks can only be said as being interesting. The journey of Pierre Nkurunziza, but seeing the loose from the international partners is hurting to see. I think you’ll enjoy the fourth and last of the series! Peace.

Referance:

WikiLeaks – ‘MAMABOLO SAYS FNL AND GOB ON BOARD WITH PEACE PLAN’ (07.03.2008) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08PRETORIA475_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘GUIDANCE FOR UNSC CONSULTATIONS ON BURUNDI AUGUST 26’ (22.08.2008) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08STATE90896_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘SAG NEGOTIATOR OPTIMISTIC ABOUT BURUNDI PEACE TALKS’ (07.02.2008) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08PRETORIA250_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘WISE MAN’S COUNCIL SAYS DON’T MISS GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR PEACE’ (15.05.2008) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08BUJUMBURA253_a.html

WikiLeaks Series – Pre-2010 General Election in Burundi: Part Two

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 II. Enjoy!

Rebellion in 2007:

“Burundi,s Minister of the Interior, Major General Evariste Ndayishimiye, is investigating reports that former CNDD-FDD party president, Hussein Radjabu, is organizing an armed rebellion against President Pierre Nkurunziza,s government. In Bubanza province, Burundian security forces have already arrested a number of people and seized their weapons in response to accusations of local insurrection” (…) “On April 24, African Public Radio announced the existence of a three hour recording of a Radjabu speech given to representatives of CNDD-FDD,s demobilized soldiers, in which he expressed his desire to start an armed rebellion” (…) “Radjabu,s address detailed plans to install five “Kagabos”, or deputy wise men, in various collines (villages) throughout Burundi. The goal of the Kagabos is to promulgate Radjabu,s plans amongst the people, door to door, and to recruit followers who will “save the CNDD-FDD party from those who are destroying it.” Radjabu characterized the Tutsi CNDD-FDD members as “opportunists” with no party conviction, charging that they lied to Nkurunziza,s government with the intent to destroy the ruling party” (…) “In particular, four months ago, the governor of Karuzi informed officials that Radjabu had authorized a weapons cache within his district. At a CNDD-FDD party meeting in Bujumbura a week later, responding to direct questioning from Radjabu in front of a stadium audience, the governor recanted his earlier statements” (WikiLeaks, 2007).

Aftermath after rebellion of 2007:

“On April 26, former CNDD-FDD party president Hussein Radjabu is appearing for the second time before Burundi,s Prosecutor General in response to a warrant issued against him on April 25” (…) “Radjabu,s appearance before the Prosecutor General is being conducted with very heavy security. The national police are refusing all vehicles, including Radjabu,s convoy, access to the Prosecutor’s compound” (…) “The Burundi national police force has implemented additional security measures throughout Bujumbura to discourage any disruption of national security. A large 24 hour police presence has been established outside of Radjabu,s residence” (…) “On April 24, African Public Radio announced the existence of a three hour recording of a speech by Radjabu to representatives of CNDD-FDD,s demobilized soldiers expressing his desire to start an armed rebellion” (…) “As a current member of Burundi,s National Assembly, Radjabu is entitled to immunity from arrest and prosecution. Radjabu,s earlier release from the prosecutor,s office without substantive action may signal the government,s desire to ensure that all legal obstacles have been removed before Radjabu,s arrest. It is believed but unconfirmed that the Prosecutor General has initiated procedures for requesting Radjabu,s immunity to be lifted” (WikiLeaks, 2007).

CNDD-FDD stalemate peace talks:

“a failure by Burundi,s President Nkurunziza and his ruling CNDD-FDD party to resolve this political impasse would virtually demolish their ability to govern effectively and give impetus to the eddying whispers of possible impeachment proceedings” (…) “Burundi,s election of 2005 resulted in a decisive win for the CNDD-FDD party and its leaders, Burundi,s new President Pierre Nkurunziza and party head, Hussein Radjabu. The ruling government quickly came under fire from FRODEBU and UPRONA. Both loudly claimed that CNDD-FDD was exploiting its clear majority by ignoring the dictates of the Burundi constitution in doling out key ministerial positions, handing them to CNDD-FDD members rather than proportionally to members of other parties, in accordance with election results” (…) “In the wake of President Nkurunziza,s most recent cabinet appointments that again fail to accommodate the demands of the minority parties, there have been renewed calls for action to restore the political legitimacy of the government including, albeit tacitly, whispers of possible impeachment proceedings against the President” (…) “Ngendakumana claimed that FRODEBU is actively working to discredit Nkurunziza,s government, and actively seeking an alliance with the PALIPEHUTU-FNL to advance its political aims during Burundi,s next round of elections in 2010. The CNDD-FDD party head claims that FRODEBU is scared, that the recent success of Burundi,s Partner Roundtable and its potential to dramatically improve the lives of ordinary Burundians will only serve to strengthen President Nkurunziza and his ruling party” (…) “Ngendakumana accused FRODEBU of engineering the recent exodus of the PALIPEHUTU-FNL. Additionally, according to Ngendakumana, FRODEBU believes that CNDD-FDD,s success in the 2005 elections can be attributed, in part, to the existence of a military wing of the party” (…) “According to Ambassador Ngendakumana, the UPRONA party is persistently demanding greater representation at the highest levels of Nkurunziza,s government, despite having already garnered a disproportionate number (15) of high political positions” (…) “Complicating these issues further, some within UPRONA maintain that First Vice President Nduwimana is no longer a member of the party, since he earlier refused to resign his post in solidarity with UPRONA,s stand against Nkurunziza,s government” (WikiLeaks, 2007).

Onesime Nduwimana on the 2010 election:

“Nduwimana characterized the stalemate as primarily a constitutional tug-of-war within Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government and described the National Assembly as the battlefield” (…) “Nduwimana referred to the constitutional clause that affords the right of political parties to participate in the government, if they desire, provided they’ve received five percent of the vote in the 2005 elections” (…) “Nduwimana, the CEO of a Burundian insurance company, further elaborated on the political quagmire by explaining that the major opposition parties, the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) and Union for National Progress (UPRONA), are exploiting a perceived split in the ruling CNDD-FDD party and its inability to form a majority voting block in the National Assembly to pass legislation”

(WikiLeaks, 2007).

Afterthought:

If the rebellion wasn’t interesting information, then I don’t know what gives. And getting even more knowledge on the pre 2010-Election. There is more coming, peace!

Referance:

WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI: TAPE REVEALS RADJABU PLANS FOR ARMED REBELLION’ (25.04.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA306_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI: RADJABU APPEARS BEFORE PROSECUTOR GENERAL AMIDST TIGHT SECURITY’ (26.04.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA309_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI’S CNDD-FDD PARTY SEEKS USG HELP IN POLITICAL STALEMATE’ (27.07.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA543_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘FORMER BURUNDI NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LEADER SPREADS BLAME FOR POLITICAL IMPASSE’ (16.08.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA575_a.html

 

WikiLeaks Series – Pre-2010 General Election in Burundi: Part One.

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 I. Enjoy!

Government of Burundi’s starting message:

“Minister of Good Governance Venant Kamana characterized the legislative problems within the National Assembly as primarily a dispute over the constitutionality of Nkurunziza’s government. Kamana explained that there are two major points of contention between the government and the major opposition parties. According to Kamana, the opposition claims that they have constitutional rights to a proportion of government positions based on the election results of 2005” (…) “Nkurunziza construed their refusal to comply as a desire not to participate in the government and therefore formed a new cabinet independently. Kamana suggested that any further dispute about the constitutionality of the government be decided by the constitutional court and further warned that any attempt to claim that the government is unconstitutional and without authority would provoke public disorder” (…) “In light of the recent arrest of the former Central Bank Governor, Kamana did not understand FRODEBU’s claim that nothing was being done with respect to the Interpetrol. Kamana also disputed FRODEBU’s assertions that various cases of embezzlement have been ignored and said that cases of embezzlement have never been filed at the office of the Prosecutor General. Kamana acknowledged that the Muyinga case is currently in the hands of the military prosecutor who has current jurisdiction” (…) “Nkurunziza and his National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) loyalists are clearly going on the offensive by addressing their concerns and reasons for the economic and political stagnation directly to the people” (WikiLeaks, 2007).

Outside view of the CNDD-FDD:

“The leader of Burundi’s MRC party and member of the National Assembly, Epitace Bayaganakandi, shared his perceptions of the political impasse plaguing the Burundi government with the Ambassador on August 6” (…) “Bayaganakandi claimed that FRODEBU, UPRONA and the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party each have 2 wings consisting of those who actively seek cooperation and compromise with Nkurunziza’s government, and those who refuse to participate in the legislative process. He noted that certain factions of the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), and even the ruling CNDD-FDD party do not want to share in the blame and the responsibility of the problems plaguing Burundi today and are instead distancing themselves to protect their political agendas for the future” (…) “Bayaganakandi stated that his predominately Tutsi MRC party was less than 5 years old, originating during Burundi’s transitional period following the civil war. Bayaganakandi declared that the objective of his centrist MRC party was to be a catalyst for institutional change throughout Burundi’s political, economic and social spectrum. Unfortunately, he complained, since 2005, little or no change can be seen other than in the areas of security, education and health. Instead, Bayaganakandi points to corruption, human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings and various financial scandals as the major contributions of Nkurunziza’s ruling government” (…) “In particular, in light of recent scandals and political failures, Bayaganakandi urged President Nkurunziza to take heed of the distinction between political positions and technical positions. Bayaganakandi explained that appointees to critical positions cannot be made out of loyalty without respect to their relative experience. He pointed to the naming of Isaac Bizimana, a former cashier for the CNDD-FDD party, as the Governor of the Central Bank and who is now in custody for possible misappropriation of funds in the recent Interpetrol scandal” (Wikipedia, 2007).

Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) party member and former Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye view:

“Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party intends to hold onto power well into the future and accused President Pierre Nkurunziza of progressively moving away from a government based on democratic values towards a military dictatorship more akin to the culture and past of the ruling CNDD-FDD party” (…) “Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye opined that the CNDD-FDD is unwilling to work with opposition parties and intends to hold onto power well into the future. The former president surmised that the CNDD-FDD is actively marginalizing all Hutu opposition as well as those parties predominantly representing the Tutsi minority” (…) “The FRODEBU leader lamented that the ruling CNDD-FDD party would rather reward good militants rather than using Burundi’s educated loyalists to help manage Nkurunziza’s government. He emphasized the need for a nation to have an army rather than having armies for political parties. Ndayizeye believes that Nkurunziza has eyes only for a military that will fight for the President and expressed his concern that Nkurunziza could become a dictator led by the military in much the same fashion as was detrimental to Burundi’s stability in the past” (…) “President Nkurunziza should respect Burundi’s constitution and the Arusha Peace accords upon which the constitution was founded. In addition to Nkurunziza’s departure from the constitution, the former president insisted that Nkurunziza refuses to commit to dialogue with other political factions and Nkurunziza’s action are running counter to national reconciliation, both significant priciples brought forth from the Arusha accords” (…) “Nahimana claimed that the CNDD-FDD party was rejecting the Arusha accords during the September 2006 ceasefire talks with the PALIPEHUTU-FNL and and only accepted the Arusha principles by force” (…) “Political observers have speculated that Ndayizeye, who is still a popular and influential figure in Burundi and who was jailed in 2006 by Nkurunziza on suspicions of plotting a coup, is seeking personal revenge against the current administration and the CNDD-FDD party, and may have his sights on the presidency once more” (WikiLeaks, 2007).

CNDD-FDD Party Leader Nyangoma is critical:

“Nyangoma, who returned to Burundi on July 15 after 10 months of temporary refuge in France, cited corruption, the lack of movement within the Parliament, and poverty as the major components to a growing ‘institutional crisis’. In offering a solution to the political quagmire, he emphasized the need for immediate dialogue between the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party and the major opposition parties” (…) “Nyangoma also suggests that the specter of war still plagues the population, strengthened by the lack of progress in the ceasefire process, and the abundance of weapons among the Burundi people. The situation is further aggravated by the inability of the government of Burundi (GOB) and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL to negotiate in good faith as dictated by the September 2006 ceasefire agreement” (…) “the CNDD party head suggested that various portions of Burundi’s constitution should be changed to improve the electoral process. He further hoped for the creation of laws that would govern the political opposition process, stating that it was necessary to have a credible opposition for an effective democracy” (…) “He proposed that an international commission, specialized in the investigation of economic crimes, should be put in place to delve into suspected improprieties by the current government since its inception. He compared his proposal to the recent effort by a similar commission that investigated the controversial sale of the presidential jet. Nyangoma stated that the GOB needs the trust of the international donor community and implied that Burundi’s financial and developmental partners had no confidence in believing that resources were going to the right places” (…) “Nyangoma also suggested that another international commission be created to shed light on all suspected crimes against humanity and human rights committed by the current administration, such as the extrajudicial killings in Muyinga and the arrest and prosecution of the suspected coup plotters in 2006. Noted for his staunch allegiance to a strong judicial process, Nyangoma questioned why Nkurunziza’s administration insists on separating justice from reconciliation. In the spirit of the Arusha peace accords, Nyangoma advocates the installation of a truth and reconciliation committee to investigate the abuses of the past” (WikiLeaks, 2007).

Afterthought:

Hope you got some new knowledge. And to be continued!

Peace.

Referance:

WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI’S GOVERNMENT TAKES THEIR MESSAGE ON THE ROAD’ (20.08.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA584_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI CENTRIST PARTY LEADER SEES PARTY DIVISIONS AS KEY TO POLITICAL IMPASSE’ (21.08.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA591_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘BURUNDI’S FORMER PRESIDENT WARNS OF A MILITARISTIC CNDD-FDD PARTY’ (13.08.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA571_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘CNDD PARTY LEADER NYANGOMA SPEAKS CRITICALLY OF BURUNDI’S GOVERNMENT’ (01.08.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07BUJUMBURA550_a.html

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