Wednesday July 18, 2018
Home World Burundi Crisi...

Burundi Crisis: Impoverished African nation weeps as no one shows interest in this nowhere land

0
//
205
Republish
Reprint

    Image Credits: Reuters

By Rukma Singh

Last month, Burundi had erupted in a series of street protests against the president’s decision to run for a third term in office. The protests have been met with great force by police. Several civilians and police officers have been killed. The emerging and developing political crisis in Burundi, is complex to understand. What is essential to keep in mind, however, is how the international community’s role will eventually attain supremacy in giving a direction to the situation.

The crisis

In March of last year, President Pierre Nkurunziza, narrowly lost a vote in parliament, that would have removed term limits and allowed him to run for a third term. The period immediately after the vote, offered an opportunity for the international community, to rally around the Burundian elite to ensure that the norm of term limits stuck, sufficiently isolating Nkurunziza and his allies. In a country of Burundi’s size, how the international community engages with local issues matters a great deal for the domestic conduct of politics.

History

Ever since Burundi achieved independence from Belgium in 1962, the country has experienced various episodes of mass and revenge killings between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. The bloodshed reached its peak during a 10-year civil war, during which over 300,000 people were killed. In 2002, a successful but tenuous peace was established through the groundbreaking Arusha Accords, and for the first time, ethnic differences appeared to be put to one side.

Increasing turmoil

The government had taken an increasingly authoritarian approach, cracking down on independent media and civil society – including the arrests of Pierre-Claver Mbonimba, a human rights activist, and Bob Rugurika, a popular radio journalist. There have been credible reports that the government, and, to a lesser extent, the opposition were actively arming the youth wings of their parties. At the end of 2014, a massacre took place in Cibitoke, in which at least 47 people were killed, an event that underscored the increasing potential for larger scale atrocities within Burundi.

One thing can be said for the crisis unfolding in Burundi over the past month and a half: it has put this small impoverished East African nation, which most Israelis cannot locate on a map, into the international news cycle.

The ray of hope

On the one hand, socio-economic problems, rising social discontent and extrajudicial killings put severe strains on the government. On the other hand, parallel dialogues have recently started between the European Union and the Burundian government, and between Burundian political actors.

Continuing these parallel dialogues and consolidating peace in Burundi will require mutual concessions by the ruling party and the opposition. It will also require that the donors maintain dialogue with the authorities on the political and security problems, and resort to financial incentives, particularly for the preparation of the elections and the security sector reform. International efforts should focus on protecting journalists and civil society activists, empowering the independent human rights commission, and promoting a security sector reform centered on human rights.

Recent developments

The head of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on Saturday, urged rival-sides in Burundi to engage in dialogue to solve the political crisis gripping the central African nation.

“We would like to encourage all the parties to engage in constructive dialogue placing the interest of the country and the people, welfare and lives of their people and stability and peace above all else,” said AU chairwoman, Dlamini-Zuma at a peace and security meeting in Johannesburg, on the eve of an African Union summit.

Since last month Nkurunziza has faced international pressure to reconsider his attempt to stay in power, which observers fear could plunge the country back into war.

The country will hold parliamentary elections on June 29 and a presidential poll on July 15.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Corrupt Politics, Doctor Ed. Picardi Speaks Up, Louder Than Before

He became an attractive target by the “powerful politicians.”

0
Corrupt Politics, Doctor Ed. Picardi Speaks Up, Louder Than Before, Flickr

Never Shy South Dakota resident Doctor Ed. Picardi speaks up. In fact, he’s as loud as ever.

Dr. Picardi was stripped of his license back in 2013 because he was ruffling feathers in Washington over the Hillary Care and ObamaCare disaster.

His was a lone voice in the wilderness as nobody was really prepared to go against the machinery of both administrations. The Clintons and Obama were at the zenith of their popularity when Dr. Picardi decided to take them on.

“I did what nobody in Washington did,” he recounts. “I actually read the entire HillaryCare bill, all 1368 pages. I did the same with ObamaCare.”

After reading through both laws, he quickly realized that they would perpetuate the wrong practices in the healthcare system and end up alienating those who really need medical help.

Hillary Clinton and Obama
Hillary Clinton and Obama, flickr

“Abortion and decreased care for the elderly would result in an enormous number of unnecessary and preventable deaths,” he explains. “I believed it was my Hippocratic Oath and my Christian beliefs which necessitated me to bring out the truth about what was actually written in these bills.”

The drawback was that he became an attractive target by the “powerful politicians.” That got him a rude introduction into the pervasive corruption in government. In fact, a son of the senator filed trumped up charges against him.

He lost his license for three years before he was reinstated by the Nebraska Medical Board in 2016. That kind of trauma would have been enough to silence anybody.

But Dr. Picardi is not just anybody.

Finding strength in his faith in God and the support of his wife, Sandy, a cancer survivor, Dr. Picardi is at it again.

He says that President Donald Trump has a chance to make sweeping changes in the healthcare system of the country because he is an outsider.

“There are way too many career, life-long politicians in office who are willing to make decisions which help themselves to the detriment of this country,” he says.

Dr. Picardi particularly called out the weaponization of the country’s legal system and the IRS in the effort to silence dissent.

 

One classic example is that of David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, who exposed the damning practice of selling aborted baby organs and body parts to medical schools to be studied.

Surgery tools
Surgery tools, Flickr

Instead of being celebrated, he was charged with the purchase of human organs and tampering with public documents. His experience parallels that of Dr. Picardi whose only “mistake” was that he called out HillaryCare and ObamaCare as the wrong solutions to the country’s healthcare problem.

Also read:More friends improve brain health

“The weaponization of the judicial system and IRS, which even President Trump is now dealing with, is finally coming into the public view,” Dr. Picardi.