BURUNDI: A STATE OF CONCERN?

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When a country, has had two civil wars and at least two genocides, there tends to be fear among the citizens of the country and also foreign countries concerning what the future holds for this country. An example country is the Republic of Burundi.

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The Republic of Burundi as seen in the map above is located in East Africa with Rwanda to its north, Tanzania to its east and south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to it’s west. Burundi, has had two civil wars, and genocides in the 1970’s and also in the 1990’s that involved hundreds of thousands of death during the violence between the Tutsis and Hutus. These left the country as underdeveloped and the population as one of the poorest in the world.

Much has not been said of Burundi on the past years till the protest that started in April 2015 and has stretched till this very moment. This protest started when the ruling party announced Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term in office. Pierre Nkurunziza is the president of Burundi and has been in office since 2005. He ran for a third term and won the election in July 2015. the protest started as a result of the announcement that Nkurunziza will be running for a third term in office. The citizens felt it was not constitutionally right for him to do so and they took to the streets. On the 13th of may 2015 a coup attempt was made to overthrow him but it failed however. Knowing the amounts of death and violence this announcement caused, Nkunziza still decided to go ahead and run for election which he ended up winning.

The protest in Burundi did not stop but increased after Nkurunziza won the election. Several people have been killed and their bodies found on the streets or or by a dump. The discovery of dead bodies has become almost an every day experience in Burundi. The police have killed some people including the entire family of journalist. The killings are sometimes tit for tat. However sometimes it is random and very brutal. the police are killing and the protesters are doing the same.

The protest is not ethnic based, but there is the fear that it could become so due to the ethnic tension between the Tutsis and Hutus.

Due to the level of increase of the protest, hundreds of thousands have fled the country out of fear of the protest escalating, they have fled to neighboring countries or other towns in the country that is peaceful. People also fled because, the president gave those who have illegal weapons till Saturday November 7th 2015 to give them up otherwise security forces will use all means available to end the conflict and they fear what might happen after the deadline

The situation in Burundi is an example of political grievance. There is a necessity for the constitution to be obeyed to the letter without anyone being above the law. The president of Burundi ran for a third term and disregarded the constitution which made a lot of people upset and led to the violence that has been very deadly. The history of this country makes it easy to suspect that the possibility of another civil war is not far fetched which should be a concern to the world at large but it’s neighboring state especially.

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5 thoughts on “BURUNDI: A STATE OF CONCERN?

  1. Very informative post. I have not heard much on the civil war so I am glad that a detailed post was made about it. I know of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s civil wars but, I did not even hear of Burundi’s civil war until now. Hearing about Burundi’s political grievances makes me wonder how long this civil war will last. I hope that ethnic tensions do not rise but I do fear that something like a genocide could happen just like there was one in Rwanda.

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  2. Because Burundi is supposed to be a democracy and the President of Burundi running for a third term is unconstitutional, my question is, where were the International Election Monitors. This civil war could have been prevented if the monitors intervened and helped Burundi to assess the legitimacy of a democratic government. These organizations exist first and foremost to report on the quality of elections and also uphold a shared set electoral norms enshrined in a vast collection of international laws and organizational documents. Now what must happen is that the U.N needs to step in and decide how they can intervene and try to put an end to the violence.

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  3. How democratic is a country is the president can run for a third term if it is unconstitutional? Even more so that he wins the election. Did the coup happen because someone else wanted power or because the group saw the election as illegal? As is typical with African democracies, they tend to be rife with corruption and scandal, is this the case for Burundi as well? Why, if a large portion of the population did not want this guy to become president again did he win the election. Was this inevitable either way?

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  4. Interesting post! In all honesty, I was previously unaware of the conflict in Burundi. From a humanitarian perspective, I would like to see an end to the ethnic civil war in the country even if it warrants foreign intervention; however, since there have also been conflicts and genocides in the vast majority of the states near Burundi, such as the DRC, CAR, Rwanda, Uganda, and Sudan/South Sudan, then how can intervention possibly be justified if this situation appears to be just “another bloody African civil war”? The international community and bilateral/multilateral coalitions cannot simply invade entire regions to bring an end to internal conflicts – thus, my question is how can the international community justify intervention in one country, but not another? I believe it is a matter of strategic importance, as well as ideology. For example, the conflict in Nigeria has gained much more attention and recognition because the country possesses fairly large natural gas reserves and, furthermore, Boko Haram represents the proliferation of Islamic extremism upon the African continent – something that is of great concern to Western interests.

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  5. Term limits on political seats are something always in debate in many new democracies. The U.S. didn’t have term limits on the president until after F.D.R. and still doesn’t have term limits on Senators or Representatives. When a single person can continuously run and win an office the question of whether democracy is an improvement over a dictatorship or not becomes very unclear.

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