Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Does Truth Matter in Burundi Crisis?

By Deo Lukyamuzi
Montreal, Canada
May 19, 2015

Now that the dust has settled, can we have some truths as to the events in Burundi that culminated in a failed coup d’état this past week of 11th May.   I will leave the legal quandaries of whether by contesting in another presidential election President Nkurunziza is violating any constitutional provision to experts who can in a calm and professional way enrich the debate without choosing sides. 
During this melee, I found a few outbursts rather annoying and for that matter, they deserve some barbs.  A one Bernard Maingain all the way from Belgium, a lawyer and wanna-be expert on Great lakes affairs, reported that there were FDLR (Interahamwe) operating in Burundi on the side of President Nkurunziza and his CNDD-FDD party.  In Fact, Mr. Maingain went ahead and sent an urgent message to the UN headquarters calling on the international body to intervene and prevent a possible genocide.  Before I was done sighing, out of fatigue due to the abundancy of quack experts on all things African, the same claim surfaced from Rwanda, and then it was re-echoed all over the place including coup plotters who even after their project fizzled,  insisted that Interahamwe must leave Burundian soil.

According to the UN’s Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework Report released last March, there were an estimated 1,900 strong FDLR still holding out in the DRC jungles half of whom, actually had weapons.   That being the case, why in all our wild imaginations should we believe that President Nkurunziza would seek the intervention of a rag tag militia to fight his battles when he has a well-equipped army, police and even CNDD-FDD Youth wing-the Imbonerakure who can and actually, did the job?  President Nkurunziza is not known to have an erratic personality to the contrary; he is quite an analytical mind.

The disservice that those who are quick to make wild accusations and others who buy into them hook, line and sinker, is to distort an important pre-occupying question  and replace it with salacious accusations that only appeal to lazy minds and those with hidden agenda at the expense of a whole country’s future.  There were no FDLR in Burundi and the dispute in Burundi is a political one rather than an ethnic one.  Of course there are those who get paid to distort but, in this Burundi case I am not terribly disappointed their narrative came to naught.

Come in Bensouda.  Fatou Bensouda is the hot prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. Before we even knew who was winning between the coup plotters and coup defenders, Fatou was no one to be left out of the action.  She came swinging like the legendary head teacher with a big stick in the Taro Affair.  Fatou Bensouda issued a warning to President Nkurunziza of possible prosection for some form of crimes –Really! The poor guy was not even in the country and his political life was hanging by the thread never mind his personal security, but Bensouda felt it urgent to issue warning before she could even crystallise the prosecutable nature of the possible allegeable crimes.  That is kind of futuristic. 

Does this point to an international conspiracy against President Nkurunziza as some in his circle have alleged?  Why else would otherwise competent people and organisations make accusations and dire warnings before they even gather sufficient evidence credible or fictive before their outbursts?

Of the four other heads of state who went to Tanzania in the quest to work out a possible resolution of the crisis, it is only Presidents Kikwete and Kenyata who can counsel Nkurunziza with a semblance of any moral higher ground.  President Museveni of Uganda actually changed the constitution to allow himself to stay in power as long as he wants.  What used to be two five years presidential term limits were transformed into termless and as we speak, he is slated to stand again in 2016 for another five years which will take him painfully close to 80years old; -talk about Mugabe having company.

As for Dr. Kagame Paul, regardless of prophesies of Andrew Mwenda, professor of Kagamean Studies at the independent, who god-knows from where, deduced that Kagame should reign until 2032, Kagame has no lessons to give to Nkurunziza.  It is rather to the contrary.  Campaigns are underway at full speed in all villages in Rwanda, local RPF leaders are cajoling peasants to sign petitions ‘pleading with parliamentarians to amend the constitution to allow Kagame to stand again’ and, ‘begging the president to not go but stay and steer the nation with his steady hand’ as, ‘no one else in the country can do such arduous task’. Actually, even with all this on-going chaos, there is still more freedom of speech, of assembly and expression in Burundi than there is in Rwanda.  So Kaguta and Kagame please, if you keep your advice to yourselves, it will certainly be more useful.

As for the international Community represented by UN and US,  the Barundi and the rest of us in the region will be better served if you spoke proper English that majority of us will comprehend rather that the habitual ‘we urge all parties to act with restraint and resolve their misunderstanding in a responsible manner’.  Prince Clemens Von Metternich once referred to such statements as loud sounding nothings.


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