The real reason behind Burundi political crisis

Editor, Refer to the article, “Kagame speaks out on Burundi political crisis” (The New Times, May 9
Demonstrators shout at army and police officers in the Musaga district of Bujumbura, yesterday.
Demonstrators shout at army and police officers in the Musaga district of Bujumbura, yesterday.

Editor,

Refer to the article, “Kagame speaks out on Burundi political crisis” (The New Times, May 9).

I perfectly agree with President Paul Kagame on the root cause of the Burundi crisis: the problem is indeed not so much about an unconstitutional third term but that of poor or no delivery (by the government) at all.

The two terms of President Pierre Nkurunziza were characterised by the monopolisation of public resources by a tiny group of senior military officers and public servants as well as bribery by police forces and the revenue body.

People engaging in anti-corruption efforts faced legal sanction or were murdered. An anti-corruption activist was stabbed to death in 2009 while investigating weapons trafficking between police and the FDLR (the DR Congo-based militia that’s primarily blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda). Three Italian nuns aged over eighty were also recently murdered on the instigation of senior police officers because it was believed that they knew too much about the military drills of the government militia Imbonerakure in DR Congo.

The Nkurunziza government is supplying this militia with police uniforms to allow them to arrest and torture whomever and whenever they want and, most notably, all those who either oppose his quest for third term or simply denounces neopatrimonialism practices that undermine good governance and threaten development.

Citizens who work in anti-graft bodies and institutions in Burundi have consistently received death threats in recent years. Transparency International Corruption Perception Index documented a downward trend, from 2.3 in 2005 when Nkurunziza took power to 1.3 out of 10 in 2015 (with zero being highly corrupt), with only a slight improvement registered between 2010 and 2011.

This deepening corruption has discredited Burundian institutions and fuelled social and political resentment in the country. Thus the root cause of the current crisis: poor delivery or no delivery at all.

As one of the youngest demonstrators against Nkurunziza’s third term in Brussels summed it up: “Il a eu son temps, il n’a rien fait” (He has had his time, he did nothing).

The world needs to take note of the Bujumbura regime’s failure to serve its people and help spare Burundians another five years under Nkurunziza (albeit very unlikely unless his plans to rig elections as he rigged an unconstitutional ruling succeed).

Bela

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