Tag: President Pierre Nkurunziza
In October 2016, the tiny East African nation of Burundi made history by raising an independent head against U.S. empire. Its legislature voted to withdraw from membership in the International Criminal Court, a tool that the U.S. and its Western allies use to discipline unruly African leaders – especially those who sign resource extraction contracts with Russia or China and/or those who try to do anything for their own people. The Burundian government fits both descriptions.
The 1994 bloodbath in Rwanda also became an argument for the suppression or even criminalization of speech. No one makes these arguments more fiercely and absolutely than Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Kagame claims to have inspired Rwandans to rise from the ashes to build an economic miracle and example for all Africa. In a new book, however, economist David Himbara says that Kagame’s economic miracle is in fact an economic mirage. I spoke to David Himbara.
Last week the U.S. helped its Saudi pals bomb another hospital and school in Yemen. Don’t imagine that its intentions are any more humanitarian in Burundi just because they’re not selling fighter bomber jets and guided bombs to their pal Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president for life. Kagame is intent on bringing down President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government in Burundi, as Saudi sheikhs are intent on bringing down the Houthi government in Yemen.
Burundi’s 1972 Hutu genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Burundian Hutu people were massacred by the country’s Tutsi army, was commemorated in Burundi on April 30. Commemorations were also held in other parts of the world, including one on the state capitol grounds in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The argument over atrocities committed in Bujumbura, the capital of the East African nation of Burundi, continues. Who is responsible and why is it happening? Western policymakers, press and some Burundian opposition figures accuse the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza and call for an intervention by African Union troops that Burundi has said it will respond to as invaders. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
Paul Kagame, the leader of Rwanda, has killed more than five times as many people as Idi Amin. He invaded Rwanda in 1990 and carried out a war of conquest there that ended sometime in 1994. He invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 and went in and out of that country for years, killing what the U.N. itself admitted was probably more than 4 million people. The U.S. not only failed to stop it, we actually supported the mass killing. Paul Kagame is a double genocidist, and one could argue too that Bill Clinton was a partner in this. Bill Clinton is arguably a genocidist.
Since March, Western press and policymakers have warned of a genocide in Burundi and suggested that Burundi’s minority Tutsi population is in danger. Supporters of President Pierre Nkurunziza say that the key social divide in Burundi is not Hutu and Tutsi, but urban and rural. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to William Ndizeye, a Burundian Canadian supporter of the Burundian government.
On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) declared its intent to send 5,000 African “peacekeeping” troops to Burundi to protect civilians, whether the Burundian government gives its consent or not. On Friday, Dec. 18, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) took note of the African Union Peace and Security Council’s statement but did not approve the deployment against the will of the Burundian government.
The Burundian army has been engaged by troops near its northern border with Rwanda and this week Aljazeera reported that young men in Rwandan refugee camps are being recruited to join a rebel force to fight in Burundi. Burundian Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe, speaking to The Voice of America, said that the Burundian government had asked the Rwandan government to prevent any action threatening Burundi’s security.
A coup attempt prevented Burundi’s President Nkurunziza from flying home from Arusha, Tanzania, earlier this week, but Nkurunziza now seems to be firmly back in control. The U.S. has called on Nkurunziza to step down and not seek a third term in office, but they do not appear to have supported the aborted coup. On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that it continued to recognize Nkurunziza as the country’s president.
Instability and political repression are increasing in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as the presidents of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda seek to remain in power beyond constitutional term limits. Rwandan and Ugandan troops crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo this week, sparking fears of another catastrophic regional war. Burundi is another pressure point further destabilizing the region.
Presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire reported that her party’s treasurer, Alice Muhirwa, mother of two, fainted in a Rwandan courtroom due to untreated torture wounds inflicted by the Rwandan police. The FDU reported that Rwandan police refused to take Ms. Muhirwa to a hospital to be treated for bleeding caused by boot kicks to the stomach.