The Arena Of Bloodshed And Crimes Against Humanity: The Case Of Burundi

For over a three decades now, African political affairs have been dominated by leaders who ‘’eternalise’’ themselves in power thereby plunging their nations into severe poverty, slow growth rate, civil wars, division, and unending bloodshed. This political situation has been rampant all over the African continent and needs to stop. This makes many political analysts describe African leaders as power mongers; a good example is the Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza a former Hutu rebel leader who became president after members of parliament, acting as an electoral college, voted in favour of him 151 to 162 on 19 August 2005. In addition, it should not be forgotten that the president was re-elected in 2010 with more than 91% of the votes amidst an opposition boycott and sworn in for his second term on August 29,2010. To worsen the situation that has degenerated to an unending bloodshed and hampered the process of peace and unity is the fact that in 2015 Nkurunziza  announced that he would seek a third term in office which was later denied by the opposition party who said Nkurunziza’s bid to extend to extend his term was in defiance of the constitution, as it bars the president from running for a third term. However, Nkurunziza allies said his first term did not count as he was elected by Parliament and not directly by the people.

Recently in Burundi, a radicalized ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure,  has plunged the country into a deeper political and human right crisis. It is widely recorded that the root of this entire untamed problem emanated from the reelection of President Pierre Nkurunziza in April 2015 thereby sparking mass protests by opposition supporters who, like the international community, said the move was unconstitutional.

It should be recorded, according to a new study by the human rights organization FIDH, that since 2015 1,200 people have been killed and between 400 and 900 have disappeared. Many thousands have been tortured, over 10,000 detained without trial, and over 400,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries. Worse still, the total disrespect by President Nkurunziza for the African Union constituted authority in December 2015, when the African Union pledged to deploy 5,000 troops to the area, Nkurunziza retained by saying he would fight them.

According to Professor Han van Dijk, an African law and governance expert at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands “The president took this as an act of war” and since then international attention has been decreasing so he has been able to rule the country as sees fit.

On Sunday, July 9th, 2017, a Burundian village witnessed series of grenade attacks that killed eight people and wounded 50 others in northern Kayanza province. Four of the victims died instantly and the other four succumbed to their injuries, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said. However, the police spokesman says they are presently conducting an investigation to identify the attackers but for now it is not known whether the attack was politically motivated or otherwise. Since the problem in Burundi is political, it can only be resolved in a political way. However, even though the present regime does not want to talk, the opening of an investigation could force it to talk.

“The only thing that would help is dialogue and a change of regime,” said Professor Han Van Dijk.

Adewale Daniel Omojowo
Together we can make it happen. Say No to violence