Africa Asia Europe North America South America Oceania
You are here: Home > Africa > Burundi

Burundi Politics

Political System of Burundi

In August 2004, 20 parties signed a political agreement to ensure that both Hutus and Tutsis participated in the government in the country. Another 11 parties refused to sign the agreement.

That same month, Hutu rebels killed 160 Tutsi refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, located in the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi, near the Congo border. Men armed with machetes and firearms attacked the camp, destroying the needy huts and burning or killing the people who got in their way. DR Congo refugees had fled the violence in their own country. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers strongly condemned the massacre of innocent civilians. The FNL assumed responsibility for the massacre. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how BI can stand for Burundi.

In November, Ndayizeye removed his vice president, Alphonse Marie Kadege, whom he accused of not contributing to the solution to the 11-year civil war in the country. In his place, Frederic Ngenzebuhoro was appointed vice president.

In February 2005, the Burundians participated in large numbers in the referendum on a new constitution, which was passed with 90% of the vote. All hutu or pro-hutu parties (about 85% of the population) had called for voting. However, the Tutsi parties had called for a vote. For the majority of Tutsis, the new constitution meant the end of a political system that had existed since independence in 1962 and which had power in their hands. The new constitution allowed the hutu the majority to seize power by democratic means. It had been prevented in 1993 by the assassination of Nayade. The new constitution stated that the president is assisted by two vice presidents of each ethnic origin. Both the Council of Ministers and Parliament must consist of 60% Hutus and 40% Tutsis. In addition, 3 deputies are elected (1% of the population). In the Senate, representation must be parity. Each province elects two senators who must each belong to their ethnic group and be from different parties. Following the planned military and police restructuring, none of the ethnic groups should be allowed more than 50% of the posts. The management of public companies must be composed according to the same guidelines. The country's first president must be elected in a joint session between the National Assembly and the Senate, and must be elected by a 2/3 majority, which means that consensus must be established across ethnic divides. The management of public companies must be composed according to the same guidelines. The country's first president must be elected in a joint session between the National Assembly and the Senate, and must be elected by a 2/3 majority, which means that consensus must be established across ethnic divides. The management of public companies must be composed according to the same guidelines. The country's first president must be elected in a joint session between the National Assembly and the Senate, and must be elected by a 2/3 majority, which means that consensus must be established across ethnic divides.

The June 2005 parliamentary elections were won by the Hutu parties that already dominated the National Assembly. They appointed Nkurunziza as president and Tutsi Martin Nduwimana as vice president.

In April 2006, the state of emergency was lifted after being in force for 13 years. The government considered that the security situation was "greatly improved". However, tensions remained and in September a new ceasefire agreement was signed. However, not all details of the agreement were completed, and several FLN leaders subsequently left the ceasefire monitoring committee, claiming their security was under threat. In September 2007, rival factions of FLN clashed in the capital. Twenty soldiers from the factions were killed and the fighting led to some residents fleeing the city. At the same time, FLN activity was reported in other parts of the country. The FLN factions disagreed with the government on the issue of disarmament and the release of political prisoners.

Heavy showers in January 2007 led to extensive flooding, destroying 50% of the crops of beans, potatoes, corn and rice. The food situation was seriously deteriorated and the country was put in an emergency state.

In February 2007, the post of Vice President was taken over by Gabriel Ntisezerana.

In its 2007 report on Botswana, Amnesty International points to several areas where improvements are needed. There are ongoing civilian victims of FLN violence, and this one also recruits child soldiers. Women are frequently exposed to violence, and criminals frequently escape prosecution and punishment. There is a great need for judicial reform and genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unpunished. The establishment of a reconciliation commission and a special tribunal for the investigation of such crimes has not yet begun. Freedom of speech is limited and journalists are frequently arrested for the performance of their duties. 38,000 Burundians were repatriated through 2007.

Other Countries in Africa

Politics eZine Copyright 1999 - 2020 All Rights Reserved