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Uncertainty Engulfs the Future of Burundi

Asked about what I thought is next for Burundi, I simply said I am not sure I know. If you hear reports of political events characterized by chanting of ethnic slogans in a country where more than 300,000 people died in ethnic violence in the last civil war (1993-2005), then you get to find reason to be worried. Worried, not necessary because it will happen again but simply because you can vividly remember when and how it happened and that you are conscious of the possibility of it happening all over again. Any calls to divide people based on ethnicity must be treated very seriously indeed.

But come to think of Burundi and you will realize that it is a strikingly beautiful country, filled with wonderful landscapes and people. And yet the current situation is so precarious and full of risks that even a scene so apparently full of joy carries with it fears that there may be something menacing lurking beneath. The country is trapped in a very complex political crisis that has caused deaths of over 1,000 people since the first anti-government protests in April 2015, precipitated by the decision of President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for a controversial third term as president. His decision was to be fiercely (at times violently) opposed by the opposition groups, section of the media, much of domestic civil society, including the influential Catholic Church, as well as many in the international community. They viewed it as a violation of the Arusha Accords that restored peace and stability in Burundi after the civil war, and included presidential term limits. Over 250,000 have fled the country so far (from a population of ten million) and the economy is hurting. I have not forgotten that Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Adding conflict to poverty begets something worse than misery.

Beyond the damage already done lies the fear that much worse could yet come. Burundi has a tragic history of inter-ethnic violence, and both local and international observers have warned of possibilities of mass violence. In such a situation when you ask me what I think of the future of Burundi, at least, in the immediate foreseeable future, I only see a huge crowd. No I cannot see; I cannot see clearly. Uncertainties. That is all I see. We, everybody in our own small and big ways need to do something about the situation in Burundi. We need to help clear this uncertainty and let the beautiful people of Burundi build their own beautiful country. There is always something that can be done. 
Uncertainty Engulfs the Future of Burundi Uncertainty Engulfs the Future of Burundi Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on June 27, 2016 Rating: 5

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