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History of Burundi - History

History of Burundi - History


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Burundi

The Hutu were the original settlers of Burundi. A few hundred years ago the Tutsi's arrived in the area and gained control over the Hutu in a semi feudal arrangement. European exploration of Burundi began in 1858. In 1899 Burundi was incorporated into German East Africa. Following World War I the League of Nations award the Burundi territory to Belgium. In 1962 Burundi achieved independence. Its government was initially a constitutional monarchy, but a military coup soon brought the military to power.
In 1972 a Hutu rebellion left 10, Tutsi dead, a year later the Tutsi responded by slaughtering 150,000 Hutu. In the years, since Burundi has had one unstable government after another. Violence between Hutu and Tutsi has continued on and off throughout these years.
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Burundi

Identification. Burundi has to two distinct ethnic groups: the Hutu and the Tutsi. While these cultures have coexisted in the area for centuries and now share a common language and many common cultural elements, they remain separate in terms of group identification.

Location and Geography. Burundi is a small landlocked country in east central Africa, bordering Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its total area is 10,750 square miles (27,830 square kilometers). The country is situated on a high plateau, with the altitude ranging from 2,532 feet (772 meters) at Lake Tanganyika in the east, to 8,760 feet (2,670 meters) at the highest point, Mount Heha. The country lies along the East African rift and experiences occasional tremors and earthquakes. Forty-four percent of the land is arable, but only 9 percent is planted with permanent crops. One-third of the country is used as pastureland. The most fertile areas are in the highlands, where temperatures are moderate and rainfall averages sixty inches (152 centimeters) a year. The mountain slopes are dense with trees. The plateau is also wooded, particularly at the higher altitudes. The wildlife includes elephants, hippopotamus, crocodiles, buffalo, warthogs, baboons, and antelopes. These animals are being threatened as development encroaches on their natural habitat, and the country has not established national park areas or sanctuaries where species are protected. Laws against poaching are not strictly enforced. The country also is experiencing deforestation and soil erosion because of overgrazing and the spread of farming.

Demography. The population was estimated at 6,054,714 in 2000, with one of the highest population densities in Africa. Through much of the country's history, the majority (around 85 percent) of the people have been Hutu. The Tutsi, the largest minority, traditionally have accounted for about 14 percent of the population. One percent of the people are Twa. The ethnic balance has begun to shift as Hutu from Burundi have fled to neighboring Rwanda to escape ethnic persecution and Tutsi have escaped violence in Rwanda and settled in Burundi. The Tutsi now make up closer to 20 percent of the population. There is a small population of three thousand Europeans and two thousand South Asians most of these immigrants live in the capital, Bujumbura, and are involved in church-related activities.

Linguistic Affiliation. Both the Hutu and the Tutsi speak Kirundi, a Bantu language. The Twa also speak Kirundi, although theirs is a slightly different dialect. Along with French, Kirundi is the official language. Swahili, a mixture of Arabic and Bantu languages that is the language of trade and business in much of East Africa, also is spoken, mostly in the region of Lake Tanganyika and in the capital city. English is taught in some schools.

Symbolism. The Tutsi are historically a herding society, and the cow therefore holds a great deal of symbolic power in the national culture. This is reflected in the language: a typical Kirundi greeting, Amashyo, translates as "May you have herds of cattle." The language is full of references in which cattle stand for health, happiness, and prosperity.


A history of Rwanda and Burundi, 1894-1990 - Tony Sullivan

A history of Rwanda and Burundi, two African nations run by Western Imperial powers until independence in 1961. Burundi became an independent state in 1962.

The genocide which occurred in Rwanda in 1994, in which majority-Hutu militias wiped out from 500,000 to a million of the minority-Tutsi population is well-known. The complicity and even help given the Hutu government by the UN and the French government is less well-known, however.

The prior history of Western Imperial intervention which led to the events culminating in the genocide are vital background knowledge for an understanding of those horrific events.

Hutus and Tutsis: a tribal war?
The 1994 genocide was targeted mainly at Rwanda's minority Tutsi population. The perpetrators came from the majority Hutus. In the western media the killings were widely portrayed as tribal hostilities.

But the Tutsis and Hutus are not "tribes". They belong to the same Banyarwanda nationality. They share the same language, religions, and kinship and clan systems.

Before white rule the Tutsis simply constituted a privileged social layer, about 15% of the population, with control of cattle and arms. The Hutus were farmers. Most of the land was ruled by a Tutsi king, though some Hutu areas were independent.

The legacy of European rule
The Germans arrived in what was to become Rwanda in 1894 and, like all western imperialists, at once began to intensify local divisions to strengthen their own control. They ruled through the Tutsi king and brought formerly independent Hutu areas under the central administration.

Rwanda's northern and western borders were basically decided among the colonial powers in 1910. The borders with Tanzania and Burundi began as internal administrative divisions in German East Africa.

Before their departure in 1916 the Germans had suppressed a rebellion and established coffee as a cash crop.

After World War One Rwanda fell under Belgian control. The Belgians continued to rule through the Tutsi king, though in the 1920s they deposed a king who obstructed their plans, and chose their own candidate to replace him, ignoring the line of succession.

Belgian policy was openly racist. Early in its mandate, the Belgian Government declared: "The government should endeavour to maintain and consolidate traditional cadres composed of the Tutsi ruling class, because of its important qualities, its undeniable intellectual superiority and its ruling potential." Belgium educated only male Tutsi. (Frank Smyth, The Australian 10.6.94)

In the 1930s Belgium instituted apartheid-like identity cards, which marked the bearer as Tutsi, Hutu or Twa (pygmy). Their efforts to establish a racial basis for the Hutu-Tutsi division through qualities such as skin colour, nose and head size came to nothing: they fell back on the reality of economic division and defined a Tutsi as owner of ten or more cattle. However the division was now rigidly enforced: it was no longer possible to rise from the status of Hutu to Tutsi.

After the Second World War the Belgians continued to run the economy to their own advantage. Goods were exported via Belgian colonies on the Atlantic seaboard, although the route to Indian Ocean ports was far shorter and made much more sense in terms of future economic development. But neither Belgium nor other Western nations planned to develop Rwanda.

Repression and revolt
Hutu resistance was brutally suppressed. Amputations and other mutilation were standard punishments decreed by the the Belgians authorities, and administered by Tutsis. By the 1940s thousands of Hutus had fled to Uganda. But in the 1950s a powerful Hutu opposition movement grew out of a land crisis, caused primarily by the spread of coffee as a cash crop and the King's cancellation of the traditional custom of exchanging labour for land that had given Hutus a small chance of land acquisition.

The Belgian authorities were meanwhile becoming concerned at the rise of radical nationalist sentiments amoung the Tutsi urban middle class.

A rebellion of Hutu farmworkers broke out the late 1950s. The colonialists decided to come to terms with it by granting independence in 1961, and allowed free elections.

At the same time, with staggering hypocrisy, the colonialists encouraged a violently anti-Tutsi atmosphere to divert the fury of the Hutus from themselves.

The elections were won by the Party for Hutu Emancipation, or PARMEHUTU. It began at once to persecute the Tutsis.

The nation of Burundi separated from Rwanda in 1962 and remained under Tutsi control. The following year Tutsi refugees in Burundi invaded Rwanda and tried to take the capital, Kigali.

The PARMEHUTU government defeated them and unleashed a wave of murderous reprisals against Tutsi civilians in Rwanda, described by the philosopher Bertrand Russell as "the most horrible and systematic massacre we have had occasion to witness since the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis." (Smyth, The Australian 10.6.94)

In 1973 General Juvenal Habyarimana seized power and became President and set up a highly centralised, authoritarian regime. He formed the MRND, which was to become the only legal political party. It created cooperative groups in the countryside run by MRND loyalists. It coopted the Catholic Church and tightly controlled the tiny trade union movement.

At the same time the racist policies of the past were intensified: Tutsis were banned from the armed forces and marriage between Tutsis and Hutus was forbidden.

Despite these policies growing numbers of Hutus actively opposed the regime.

The free market cripples Rwanda
The proportion of Rwanda's labour force involved in agriculture was the highest in the world. In 1994 Agriculture employed 93% of the labour force (compared to 94% in 1965). Industry contributed only about 20% of Gross Domestic Product and this was largely limited to processing agricultural goods.

Dependence on inefficient agriculture left Rwanda prey to drought in 1989. Environmental damage also played its part. Originally well wooded, less than 3% of Rwanda is now forest. Erosion is rampant and is wiping out both natural vegetation as well as food and cash crops, despite tree-planting programs. In these conditions disease and famine spread.

Thanks to its colonial heritage Rwanda relied on coffee exports for anywhere between 60% and 85% of its foreign earnings. But in 1989 world coffee prices collapsed after the International Coffee Organisation suspended export quotas, allowing market forces free play.

The result was a foreign debt of $90 per person, in a nation where total wealth per person was only $320. Calorie consumption was only 81% of the required intake. Under 10% of children reached secondary school and one in five babies were dying before the age of one.

In 1990 the desperate Habyarimana Government adopted the International Monetary Fund's Structural Adjustment Programme in return for credit and foreign aid. Massive cutbacks in the already meagre public spending followed.

The regime prepared for resistance by stepping up the repression of political opponents, whether Hutu or Tutsi. But it also embarked on a huge new campaign to scapegoat Tutsis for the economic crisis. Government radio relentlessly spread hate propaganda, and in the background the regime began to organise militia death squads.

It is against the backdrop of this economic crisis that the genocide of Tutis took place.

Edited by libcom from an article The UN in Rwanda By Tony Sullivan

Sources
Other sources not already cited:
Economist Intelligence Unit, Zaire/Rwanda/Burundi, 1991-2 Europa Year Book 1993 Socialist Worker 10 June 1994 Rwanda, Randall Fegley Socialist Review 178, September 1994


Burundi's first democratically elected president Melchior Ndadaye Frodebu was assassinated in October 1993 after only 100 days in office, triggering widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. More than a million Hutu, Tutsi and Burundians perished during the conflict that spanned over 30 years in Burundi.

In 2005 the 12 year civil war officially ended and a new Burundi constitution was instated electing a majority Hutu government. President Pierre Nkurunziza, who was re-elected in 2010 and is running for a controversial third term on June 26, 2015 stands firm on his decision amid protests, demonstrations, coups and thousands of people fleeing Burundi for fear of a second civil war.

Burundi's parliamentary election was not free, fair, transparent or credible and violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms were committed, the United Nations said on Thursday July 2, 2015.

The United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi (MENUB) officially started its operations in Burundi on January 1, 2015, as mandated in Security Council resolution 2137 of 2014. The Mission was set up at the request of the Government of Burundi and will report on the electoral process in the country which will organize five polls in a four-month period between May and September.

Together we build awareness that boost harmony, education, and success, below are more links to articles you will find thought provoking.


Burundi Culture

Religion in Burundi

77% of the population are Christian, the majority of which are Roman Catholic there are Anglican and Pentecostal minorities. 22% adhere to animist beliefs. There is also a small (1%) Muslim community.

Social Conventions in Burundi

Normal social courtesies apply. However, outside the cities people may not be used to visitors, and care and tact must be used in respect of local customs. Inhabitants of major towns generally have a more modern way of life. Dress should be reasonably conservative.


Republic of Burundi | Republika y'u Burundi

Background:
Burundi is a small nation in east-central Africa's Great Lakes region.
Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only one hundred days in office. Since then, some 200,000 Burundians have perished in widespread, often intense ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. Hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced or have become refugees in neighboring countries. Burundi troops, seeking to secure their borders, briefly intervened in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998.
A new transitional government, inaugurated on 1 November 2001, signed a power-sharing agreement with the largest rebel faction in December 2003 and set in place a provisional constitution in October 2004. Implementation of the agreement has been problematic, however, as one remaining rebel group refuses to sign on and elections have been repeatedly delayed, clouding prospects for a sustainable peace.

Elections in August 2005 have radically transformed Burundi's political landscape. The success of the former CNDD-FDD rebels, including the selection of Pierre Nkurunziza as president on 19 August, gives the party control of all branches of government. Concurrently, the security sector has been profoundly restructured with CNDD-FDD fighters now making up 40 per cent of the army. They provide a safeguard against attempted coups to interrupt the peace process and thus a guarantee that further reforms required under the Arusha agreement for peace and reconciliation will be realized. Nonetheless, the elections are just one, albeit important, step toward a lasting peace.

Time:
Local Time = UTC +2h
Actual Time: Sun-June-20 21:42

Capital City: Bujumbura (pop 300 000)

Other Cities: Cibitoke, Muyinga, Ngozi, Bubanza, Gitega, Bururi.

Government:
Type: Republic democratically elected, post-transition government established 26 August 2005.
Independence: 1 July 1962 (from Belgium).

Geography:
Location: East-central Africa south of the Equator.
Area: 27,834 km² (10,746 sq mi)
Terrain: Hilly and mountainous, dropping to a plateau in east, some plains.
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Tanganyika 772 m
highest point: Heha 2,670 m

Climate: Tropical equatorial, with wet and dry seasons, temperature varies with altitude.

People:
Nationality: Burundian(s).
Population: 10.11 million (2016)
Ethnic groups (estimated): Hutu 85% Tutsi 14% Twa 1.0%.
Religions (estimated): Roman Catholic 60%-65% Protestant 10%-15% traditional beliefs 15%-20% Muslim 5%.
Languages: Rundi (Kirundi), and French (offiocial), Swahili (trade and governmental language)
Literacy: 37%

Natural resources: Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum (not yet exploited), vanadium, arable land, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca) beef, milk, hides.

Industries: Light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap assembly of imported components.

Exports - commodities: coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides

Imports - commodities: capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs

Imports partners: Kenya 15%, Saudi Arabia 14%, Belgium 9.9%, Tanzania 8.3%, Uganda 7.3%, China 7.1%, India 4.9%, France 4% (2015)

Political System
Burundi's political system is a presidential representative democratic republic based upon a multi-party state. The President of Burundi is the head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The cabinet consists of the Council of Ministers appointed by president. In defiance of the constitution, the sitting President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza, was re-elected for a third term in the July 2015 presidential election.
The legislative branch is a bicameral parliament with a Senate and a National Assembly, both with a 5 years election cycle.

Official Sites of Burundi

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Présidence Burundi
Burundi's President Office.


Diplomatic Missions
Embassy of The Republic of Burundi in the US
Embassy of Burundi in Washington, in the U.S.
Embassy of the Republic of Burundi to Germany
Embassy of Burundi in Berlin, Germany.
Ambassade du Burundi à Paris
Embassy of Burundi in Paris, France.

L'Institut de Statistiques et d’Etudes Economiques du Burundi (ISTEEBU)
Institute for Statistics and Economic Research of Burundi.

ONUB - United Nations Operation in Burundi
ONUBS mission is to support and help to implement the efforts undertaken by Burundians to restore lasting peace and bring about national reconciliation, as provided under the Arusha Agreement.

Google Earth Burundi
Searchable map and satellite view of Burundi.
Google Earth Bujumbura
Searchable map and satellite view of Burundi's capital city.

Burundi News

Operating in a turbulent political climate, Burundi's media are subject to self-censorship and occasional government censorship.
Radio is the main source of information for many Burundians. The government runs the sole TV station, the only radio station with national coverage, as well as the only newspaper that publishes regularly.
(BBC)

Net Press
Agence Burundaise de Presse privately owned Burundi Press Agency (in French).

Iwacu
Les voix de Burundi (The Voices of Burundi), Burundi news in French and English.

Burundi Realities
Kind of outdated Analysis, Research, Information and Data on Burundi (French and English)

Africatime Burundi
Central news (in French).
afrol News - Burundi
Burundi related news in English and Spanish.

Arts & Culture

Culture, Religion, Dance, Music, Arts & Literature
Expressions of Burundian Life and Culture, article about Burundi culture by the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi in Germany.

Business & Economy

Burundi is a resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. Agriculture accounts for over 40% of GDP and employs more than 90% of the population. Burundi's primary exports are coffee and tea, which account for 90% of foreign exchange earnings. Burundi is heavily dependent on aid from bilateral and multilateral donors.

Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Elevage
Burundi's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Coffee
Coffee Board of Burundi (offline)
Site provides information about the Coffee Board and arabica coffee farming.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Burundi

Discover Burundi
Lake Tanganyika (one of the African Great Lakes, shared by Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Zambia) Kibira National Park (sacred primary montane rainforest) Rusizi National Park (nature reserve at the Rusizi River near Bujumbura)

Burundi presentation - Travel and Tourism
Some information about tourism in Burundi by the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi in Washington DC.

Tourism in Burundi
Wikipedia entry about tourism in Burundi .


Great blue turaco, one of the bird species found in Kibira National Park in northwestern Burundi.
Image: Michael Gwyther-Jones

Education

Université du Burundi
It is the only public university in Burundi. Official university web site with information about its mission, its institutions and its organisation structure. (in French)

History

History of Burundi
Wikipedia entry about Burundi's History.

Burundi genocide
Wikipedia article about the ethnic conflict between the Hutu and the Tutsi Tribes in Burundi.

Human Rights and Humanitarian Crisis

According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) sitrep of December 2016:
2.1 million people lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, of which more than 800,000 are severely food-insecure.
30,000 ha of farmland destroyed by climate hazards related to El Niño for the 2015/16 season.
428,170 people displaced by ongoing crisis and climate hazards, of which 139,000 were internally displaced and the rest in neighbouring countries.


Ligue Burundaise des Droits de l'Homme
Human Rights League of Burundi with information on the work of the league (in French.)

OPDE - Oeuvre humanitaire pour la Protection et le Développement de l'Enfant en difficulté
A humanitarian charity for the protection and development of the street children of the Great Lakes.

Relief Web: Burundi
The UN administered Relief Web with Humanitarian information on Burundi.


History of Burundi - History

Colonial History
German Rule
In a treaty signed in 1890, Britain recognized Germany's claim to Burundi. German rule was not established until 1897. In 1899, the village Usambara (Bujumbura) was selected as a German police station it developed into Burundi's capital.
The Germans treated the Kingdom of Burundi as a protectorate, interfering little in it's internal affairs. Christian mission began during the period of German colonialism.

Belgian Rule, 1916-1962
In 1916, Belgian troops from the Belgian Congo invaded German East Africa, occupying both Rwanda and Burundi. In the Treaty of Versailles, all German colonies were taken from it. In 1920, the League of Nations transferred Rwanda and Burundi as mandates to Belgium.
In 1922, the Belgians created the colony of Ruanda-Urundi (administrated as an annex to the Belgian Congo). Yet, they left both kingdoms, Rwanda and Burundi, intact, and established administrations in which the real authority lay with the Belgian officials 'advising' the king.
The elite was educated in French, drawing the country into the circle of francophone countries. Catholic mission, begun under the Germans, was intensifyed. Coffee was introduced as a crop in 1918.


Independence since 1962
Just before Burundi was released into independence, parliamentary democracy, universal adult suffrage and majority rule were introduced. At the same time, the monarchy was maintained, in a country where, for centuries, the minority Tutsi had ruled over the majority Hutu.
The country became independent in 1962, now officially changing it's name from Urundi into Burundi. The young republic went through years of political instability, characterized by coups (a failed coup 1965, a successful coup 1966, another failed coup 1969, a successful coup in 1993), rebellions (1972) and massacres the ethnic groups committed on each other (1965, 1972, 1988, 1997). The Tutsi, meanwhile, controlled both the army and the ruling UPRONA party. In 1966 King Ntare V. was deposed, the monarchy abolished.
The situation remains tense, as the Tutsi minority is not willing to relinquish their control over the army. Experiments to ease tensions by appointing moderate Hutus to government positions, such as under President Pierre Buyoya in 1987, have failed.
Since independence, Burundi has experienced a doubling of its population. As all good farmland is under cultivation, the ethnic tension it aggreviated by a competition for land.


Burundi

Burundi is a relatively small country located in central Africa, and the name and approximate territory has a continuity with the Kingdom of Burundi which was founded at the end of the 17th century [i] . Between the 1890's and 1962 Burundi was a colony of first Germany and then Belgium [ii] . The post-colonial period was then marked by ethnic violence, political assassinations and civil war [iii] . Particularly political assassinations has tended to be frequent and in turn throw the country into conflict and violence.

A peace agreement was signed between Hutu militias and the Tutsi led government in 2006, and the country has been focused on rebuilding since [iv] . There was some rioting and violence,in which seven people were killed, since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intent for seeking re-election [v] . As of January 2016 an estimated 439 people had died and 240.000 people had been injured the political violence following President Nkurunziza's re-election [vi] . Burundi has the distinction of having the first female Prime Minister in Africa, Sylvie Kinig [vii] .

The early history of Burundi, and especially the role and nature of the country's three dominant ethnic groups the Twa, Hutu and Tutsi, is highly debated amongst academics [viii] . What is important to remember is that the nature of culture and ethnic groups is always fluid and changing. While the groups might have migrated to the area at different times and as distinctly different ethnic groups, the current distinctions are contemporary socio-cultural constructs. In recent Burundi history these divisions has been used for political mobilisation. This means that there is the reality of everyday life no clear boundaries between the different groups, but the identities of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa are emphasised and made distinct when the political situation calls for it. There is however evidence for that the groups settled in the area of Burundi at different times and in different waves [ix] . It is believed that the Twa was the earliest people in the area, and were predominantly hunters and gatherers [x] . It is estimated that the first Bantu speaking peoples settled in the area which now constitutes Burundi in about 800 CE [xi] . The Hutu came later from Central Africa and introduced agriculture [xii]. The Tutsi presumably came in the 15th and 16th century and raised cattle and practised pastoralism [xiii].

Gitaga drummers perform a traditional dance.
Source: www.everyculture.com

The earliest state with a direct continuity with the modern state of Burundi was the Kingdom of Burundi [xiv]. The kingdom was founded some time around the 16th century CE [xv]. Some academics believe that a shortage of land created an increased conflict over cattle to be used as lobola, and that this created a class of warriors amongst the mainly Tutsi people who practised pastoralism [xvi]. This warrior class would dominate the mostly farming Hutu people and founded the Kingdom of Burundi [xvii]. After a period of expansion the Kingdom of Burundi cemented its borders in the late 1600 CE [xviii] The kings of Burundi was referred to as Mwami, meaning ruler [xix]. The kingdom was strictly hierarchical and ruled by a king with several princes beneath him [xx]. The royal court was made up of the Tutsi-Banyaruguru and they had higher social status than other pastoralists such as the Tutsi-Hima [xxi]. In the lower levels of this society was generally Hutu people, and at the very bottom was the Twa [xxii]. The system had some fluidity however and some Hutu people belonged to the nobility, and had some say in the functions of the state [xxiii].

The Kingdom of Burundi lost its independence with after they were conquered by Germany in the late 19th century [xxiv]. The German Empire established their first military post in Burundi in 1896 [xxv]. After 1899 Burundi was known as the military district of Ruanda-Urundi under German colonial rule [xxvi]. Both German and Belgian colonial occupiers continued to rule indirectly through local kings [xxvii]. The last King of an independent Kingdom of Burundi was Mwami Ntare V [xxviii].

Burundi under colonial occupation

After the [xxix]. Burundi was transferred to the Belgian Empire under a League of Nations mandate after the German Empire lost in the first World War (the Great European War) [xxx]. The transfer took place legally on the 20 October 1924 [xxxi]. In the years immediately following the Belgian takeover of Burundi there was a series of peasant uprisings, and the colonial authorities started a campaign of violently oppressing the rebellion [xxxii]. The Belgian colonial occupiers used forced labour to extract resources and taxed the Burundian people to pay for their own occupation [xxxiii].

Both the Belgian and German empires ruled Burundi through local kings in a colonial system known as indirect rule [xxxiv]. The colonial occupiers had final say, but local chiefs and the king had a say in issues of land and over lower sub-chiefdoms [xxxv]. Some scholars believe that the categories of Twa, Hutu and Tutsi, was based upon wealth and profession up until this point [xxxvi]. The categories were supposedly historically fluid and it was under the colonial administration of the Germans and the Belgians that they were constructed into strictly separate ethnic groups [xxxvii].

A system of identity cards was set in place and the top jobs for administrators and officials were reserved for Tutsi people [xxxviii]. The whole colonial period was a process of creating inequality and strict ethnic and economic separation between Hutu and Tutsi people [xxxix]. This strict division would fuel ethnic violence after the colonial period. The Burundian traditions and system of governance became a tools for colonial oppression as the traditional Tutsi elite would be relatively well off while almost all Hutu and Twa people suffered greatly [xl]. So while all people in Burundi during colonial rule were oppressed the Hutu and Twa suffered the most. This in turn lead to some of the anti-colonial struggle being directed towards Tutsi people, as they were seen as complicit in colonial rule [xli].

In Burundi the Kingdom and the royal institutions had survived with some integrity and influence throughout the colonial period, and some of the nobility were directly involved in the struggle for independence [xlii]. Then King of Burundi, Mwami Mwambutsa IV, demanded independence from Belgium on the 20 January 1959 [xliii]. The Belgian government denied this demand for independence, but the demand would give momentum to Burundian political parties who had begun to advocate for independence. The largest of these parties was the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), and it was led by Prince Louis Rwagasore and Lkopold Biha [xliv]. UPRONA was founded in 1958 [xlv]. A smaller party supported by the Belgian state which was the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) [xlvi].

Ntare V (Charles Ndizeye), last King of Burundi (1966).
Source: face2faceafrica.com

Legislative elections were held on the 8 September 1961, and UPRONA won a decisive majority [xlvii]. The party supported the monarchy and was led by Prince Louis Rwagasore. Burundi declared itself independent on the 1 July 1962 [xlviii]. On the 13 October 1961, before independence was declared, Louis Rwagasore was assassinated by the political opposition [xlix]. This led to the dissolution of his party and a power vacuum which was contested by three groups: the Tutsi-Hima, the Tutsi-Banyaruguru, and a small emerging Hutu elite [l]. During the Kamenge riots Tutsi

militants of the UPRONA youth wing attacked and killed several Hutu trade unionists and supporters of the Hutu aligned Party of the People (PP) [li]. The violence created increased conflict in the already unstable and multi-ethnic UPRONA. Particularly the Hutu membership was disturbed by what was seen as anti-Hutu ethnic violence, and UPRONA was split between along Hutu and Tutsi lines [lii]. In the face of increasing violence Tutsi King Mwambutsa IV Bangiriceng extend the powers of the royal court and established a constitutional monarchy in Burundi [liii].

The assassination of Louis Rwagasore and the fracturing of UPRONA led to a political power vacuum. In 1966 King Mwambutsa IV was deposed by Prince Ntare V. [liv] Ntare V's rule was however short lived as he was in turn deposed in a coup led by prime minister Capt. Michel Micombero [lv]. The military coup meant the end of Burundi as a kingdom, this ended a royal tradition going back to the later 1600s. After the coup most of the country's power was monopolised by the Tutsi-Hima, who also controlled the army [lvi]. This ethnic group would rule Burundi from 1966 – 1993 to the exclusion of other ethnic groups in the country. The consequent military regimes were: Micombero 1966-82, Bagaza 1982-87, Buyoya 1987-93 [lvii].

The period from 1972 – 2005 was a time of much violence and instability in Burundi [lviii]. On April 29 Hutu bands murdered and torture a number of Tutsi people [lix]. Hutu rebels killed all personal related to the regime in the city of Bururi [lx]. After the seizure of the city and local arms depots the Hutu militia attempted to kill the entire Tutsi population of Burari [lxi]. The Hutu rebels then declared the Republic of Martyazo, an independent Hutu homeland [lxii].

The Tutsi led government of President Micombero, together with paratroopers from Zaire, began their advance against the Hutu led Republic in April 1972 [lxiii]. Instead of targeting the Republic of Martyazo and armed personal the government army and its Zairean allies led a wholesale genocide on any Hutu civilians who could not escape [lxiv]. It is estimated that between 200.000 and 300.000 Hutu people were killed or fled the country in the next four months [lxv]. Almost all the educated Hutu people in the country was either dead or had fled the country [lxvi]. The regime also murdered Prince Ntare V and in turn crushed any hope of the return of the old monarchy [lxvii]. This act cemented power for the Tutsi-Hima amongst other Tutsi groups, and the previously progressive minded UPRONA was reduced to a vehicle for Tutsi power [lxviii]. Similar violence broke out in 1988 ending with the death of about 3.000 Tutsi and around 20.000 Hutu people [lxix]. The same kind of ethnic violence, spurred on by the fear of the other ethnic group acting first, happened in 1991 and 1993 as well, although on a much smaller scale with hundreds dead [lxx].

In 1990 Burundi moved slowly towards a more democratic political system [lxxi]. The regime enacted constitutional change, in part forbidding ethnically aligned political parties, which in turn ushered in a non-ethnic government [lxxii]. Melchior Ndadaye from the mainly Hutu Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) Party, was elected president in 1993 [lxxiii]. Ndadaye appointed Sylvie Kinigi as his prime minister, giving Burundi the distinction of having the first female Prime Minister in Africa [lxxiv].

Ndadaye and most of his government was assassinated by low-level army personal after only three months in office [lxxv]. Scared for their lives and remembering the 1972 genocide a large amount of Hutu people organised into militias [lxxvi]. Clashes between the Hutu militias and government forces is estimated to have killed between 50.000 and100.000 people and displaced up to 1 million people [lxxvii] [lxxviii]. The death of the President and most of his cabinet created a constitutional crisis, and in january 1994, after protracted negotiations, Ndadaye's successor Cyprien Ntaryamira was chosen as President [lxxix]. Ntaryamira died in April that same year, however, in the same plane crash which [lxxx]. FRODEBU and UPRONA formed a coalition government, but it was ridden with infighting [lxxxi]. While the government was plagued by factionalism and infighting the ethnic violence continued in the rest of the country, and an estimated 150.000 people died in the two years after Ntaryamira's death, most in the initial violence in 1993 [lxxxii].

In 1996 military dictator Pierre Buyoya seized power in a coup and began negotiations for a transition government with various Hutu groups [lxxxiii]. A Hutu aligned group, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD–FDD), was founded in 1994 to fight for a return to constitutional law and to change the Tutsi dominated army [lxxxiv]. In 2000 a peace deal was negotiated in Arusha [lxxxv], but ended without signatures from some of the main rebel groups including the CNDD–FDD [lxxxvi]. In part the agreement was for an ethnically mixed military and for democratic elections, yet some would argue that the Arusha agreement did nothing to curb Hutsi/Tutu radicalism [lxxxvii]. In 2003 the last of the Hutu rebel groups agreed to the peace accord [lxxxviii] with the transitional government lead by President Domitien Ndayizey, this included the CNDD–FDD, which was at the time lead by Pierre Nkurunziza [lxxxix]. After some sporadic violence a final peace agreement was signed in 2006 [xc].

Burundi after the peace accord

On February 28, 2005 Burundians voted in a national referendum for the implementation of a post-transitional constitution [xci]. Pierre Nkurunziza was elected the first post-transitional president of Burundi in elections held in the summer of 2005 [xcii]. Nkurunziza was re-elected in 2010 and sought to be re-elected again in 2015 with the argument that in his first term he had not been elected, but was part of a negotiated government and was appointed by parliament [xciii].

His announcement for re-election in 2015 caused widespread riots in Burundi against the sitting president. Seven people were killed in the protests [xciv]. Parts of the armed forces attempted to take over the government in a coup, but it failed and and five soldiers were reported to have been killed in the process [xcv]. After a rejected unity government Nkurunziza won an election, boycotted by the opposition, with 69.41% of the vote. As of January 2016 an estimated 439 people had died and 240.000 people had been injured the political violence following President Nkurunziza's re-election [xcvi]. Aditionally it was reported that several hundred political opponents of Nkurunziza had been arrested as of late 2015 [xcvii].

[i] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 84.↵

[iii] Ibid. Lemarchand, René. 2012. The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Page 141.↵

[vii] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 87.↵

[viii] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. Page 254.↵

[xi] R. O. Collins & J. M. Burns. 2007. A History of Sub-Saharan Africa, Cambridge University Press. Page 125.↵

[xii] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. Page 255.↵

[xiv] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 84.↵

[xvi] R. O. Collins & J. M. Burns. 2007. A History of Sub-Saharan Africa, Cambridge University Press. Page 124.↵

[xviii] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 84.↵

[xx] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. Page 255.↵

[xxiv] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 84.↵

[xxvii] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 256.↵

[xxviii] ornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 86.↵

[xxxi] Weinstein, Warren & Robert Schrere. 1976. Political Conflict and Ethnic Strategies: A Case Study of Burundi. Syracuse University: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. ↵

[xxxii] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 84. ↵

[xxxiv] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 256.↵

[xliii] Weinstein, Warren & Robert Schrere. 1976. Political Conflict and Ethnic Strategies: A Case Study of Burundi. Syracuse University: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. ↵

[xliv] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 85.↵

[xlvii] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 256↵

[li] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 85.↵

[liv] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 256.↵

[lviii] Lemarchand, René. 2012. The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Page 141 – 143.↵

[lix] Ibid. Page 134 and 136.↵

[lxiii] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 258.↵

[lxvii] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 86.↵

[lxix] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 259.↵

[lxxiv] Cornwell, Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 87.↵

[lxxv] Ibid. Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 262.↵

[lxxvi] Ibid. Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 262.↵

[lxxviii] Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 88.↵

[lxxix] Ibid. Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 262.↵

[lxxxii] Richard and De Beer, Hannelie. 1999. “Africa Watch Burundi: The politics of intolerance” in African Security Review, 8:6, 84-94. Page 89.↵

[lxxxiii] Uvin, Peter. 1999. “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence” in Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1999), pp. 253-271 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York. 262.↵

[lxxxiv] Nindorera, Willy. 2012. “The CNDD-FDD in Burundi: The path from armed to political struggle” in Berghof Transitions Series No. 10 . Published by Berghof Foundation. Berlin, Germany. Page 9.↵

[lxxxv] Lemarchand, René. 2012. The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Page 142.↵

[lxxxvi] Nindorera, Willy. 2012. “The CNDD-FDD in Burundi: The path from armed to political struggle” in Berghof Transitions Series No. 10 . Published by Berghof Foundation. Berlin, Germany. Page 9.↵

[lxxxvii] Lemarchand, René. 2012. The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Page 142.↵

[lxxxix] Nindorera, Willy. 2012. “The CNDD-FDD in Burundi: The path from armed to political struggle” in Berghof Transitions Series No. 10 . Published by Berghof Foundation. Berlin, Germany. Page 9. ↵

[xc] Hatungimana, A. and Theron, J. 2007. “Peace agreements in Burundi: Assessing the impact” in Conflict Trends, 3 , 19–24. Page 20.

[xci] Lemarchand, René. 2012. The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Page 152.↵

[xciii] BBC News. 28 April 2015. “Burundi anti-President Nkurunziza protests in Bujumbura” ↵


History of Burundi

Upon independence, Burundi&rsquos predominant divisions lay along political and ethnic fault lines between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi ethnic groups. The desire for political and economic power fuelled these divisions, a dynamic which was further complicated by the clan and regional splits within each group. The first of many waves of violence began in 1965.

The year marked the start of a series of coups and attempted coups d&rsquoétats, and resulted in the massacre of large numbers of the Tutsi population. By 1972 a pattern of Hutu uprisings and subsequent repression by the Tutsi-dominated army had developed. The organised repression of educated Hutu by the army in 1972 is widely regarded as the first case of genocide in the Great Lakes Region.

In the aftermath of the 1972 violence, an elite Tutsi clique consolidated their grip on power. The UPRONA political party, though originally the multi-ethnic party of the hero of Burundi&rsquos independence, Prince Louis Rwagasore, became the symbol of Tutsi hegemony and military rule in Burundi. A one-party state was maintained for two decades in spite of numerous coups originating within the army. Violence continued throughout this period, notably the 1988 massacres that led to the deaths of thousands of Hutu and to many more fleeing the country.

By the beginning of the 1990s a series of reforms were instituted in the face of growing international concern. These reforms led to the first multiparty elections in 1993 that saw the election of the first Hutu President, Melchior Ndadaye of the FRODEBU party. In spite of growing optimism in the country, Burundi was plunged into full-scale civil war just three months into Ndadaye&rsquos tenure after his assassination in a failed coup attempt. Violence perpetrated against Tutsi civilians in the immediate aftermath of his assassination has been referred to as genocide by a UN commission of inquiry. The widespread violence that followed, known locally as la crise, began as a conflict between Hutu rebels and the Tutsi-dominated security forces, but soon descended into chaos.

After seven years of violence the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement was signed in 2000. The Agreement established a transitional government, mandating an innovative power-sharing arrangement between the Hutu and Tutsi that included specific provisions for ethnic quotas in key institutions and the military. Significantly, the country&rsquos two major rebel movements &ndash the CNDD-FDD and the FNL &ndash refused to sign the deal, with the former now accused of never having fully subscribed to the spirit of the Agreement.

Subsequent deals brokered with the CNDD-FDD in 2003 saw it transform from rebel movement to political party in time for democratic elections in 2005, which led to Pierre Nkurunziza being appointed to the presidency as leader of the CNDD-FDD. The remaining rebel movement, the FNL, signed a ceasefire deal in 2006 and officially disarmed in 2009. Estimates of the number of persons killed during the civil war put the figure in the hundreds of thousands.

Pierre Nkurunziza and his party consolidated their power after elections in 2010 that were marred by political violence and the decision of the majority of the opposition to pull out of the presidential elections. As a result, the current political landscape remains dominated by the CNDD-FDD. This dominance was yet further solidified by the re-election of Nkurunziza in 2015. The announcement sparked widespread protests that plunged Burundi into yet another political crisis that once again played host to a failed coup and human rights abuses. The 2015 crisis piqued the interest of regional and international institutions, but to date the numerous efforts employed to find a peaceful solution have largely failed to have any notable impact.

The latest outbreak of violence and repression added yet another layer of complexity to Burundi&rsquos post-independence history. In just over fifty years, an untold number of Burundians have lost their lives or have been affected by wave after wave of crises. Yet almost no noteworthy efforts to deliver justice, provide redress or clarify the country&rsquos history have been made to date, with the transitional justice stipulations set out in the Arusha Agreement having been non-starters for decades. More recently, Burundi&rsquos first Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2014-2018) concluded its work, but with few results having been achieved. A second TRC was inaugurated in 2018, with a large number of changes introduced to its mandate, including a requirement to uncover the truth about Burundi&rsquos colonial past. For IW and our partners, it is at the local community level where transitional justice efforts will likely have the greatest impact. Supporting and encouraging community-based transitional justice initiatives is therefore among our key priorities.


Independence and post-colonial period

Kingdom from 1962 to 1966

On June 6, 1962, the UN decided to give the two regions of Rwanda and Burundi independence as separate states. The country was granted independence by Belgium on July 1, 1962. On the same day the ruling party UPRONA broke up into two rival groups, the so-called Monrovia group made up of moderate pro-Western Tutsi and Hutu under the leadership of Hutu Paul Mirerekano and the Casablanca group made up of radical Tutsi. For the time being, the Monrovia group was able to prevail. She provided with André Muhirwa and from June 18, 1963 with Pierre Ngendandumwe the head of government and tried to stabilize the country. After Mwami Mwambutsa IV, who ruled as head of state from 1915, had four Hutu ministers dismissed, Ngendandumwe resigned as head of government. He was replaced by Albin Nyamoya , a radical Tutsi. This formed a new government on April 6, 1964. Nyamoya changed the pro-Western policy of his predecessors and leaned on the People's Republic of China . There were border disputes with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When large quantities of weapons of Chinese origin were found in December, Nyamoya lost the Mwami's trust. He was released on January 8, 1965. His predecessor Ngendandumwe took his place. A few days later, on January 15, he was murdered by a group of radical Tutsi. The Mwami appointed the President of UPRONA, Joseph Bamina , as the new head of government. On May 10, 1965, the first parliamentary elections after independence took place. UPRONA clearly won with 64 percent of the vote. But the radical Tutsi party Parti du Peuple (PP) received 30 percent of the vote and went on a confrontation course with UPRONA. Despite winning the election, the king forced Bamina, a Hutu, to resign. On July 24th, the king declared a state of emergency. The new head of government was on October 13, 1965, the private secretary of Mwami, Léopold Biha . He belonged to the royal clan of the Bezi-Tutsi. Both the radical Tutsi and the Hutu, who had been cheated of their government responsibility, attempted a coup in October . The army, consisting of Tutsi, killed over 5,000 Hutu in this context, including ex-Prime Minister Bamina and ex-UPRONA President Mirerekano. The king was discredited and moved to Europe. The country was drifting towards civil war. On March 24th, the son of Mwami Mwambutse, Charles Ndizeye, became the new king as Ntare V. The commander-in-chief of the army, Michel Micombero , and Ntare V. fought for de facto power in the country. For the time being, the new Mwami won. Micombero became the new head of government on July 11, 1966 in place of Biha. On November 28, 1966, Micombero seized power during a foreign visit by Ntare V. and declared Burundi a republic.

Micombero era 1966–1976 (First Republic)

Michel Micombero became the first President of the Republic. At the same time the office of head of government was abolished. Micombero was at the head of a so-called National Revolutionary Council , which was dissolved in 1968. Within a few years, Micombero removed all Hutu from leadership positions in the military, police and administration.

In September 1969 the last remaining Hutu officers in the military attempted a coup. This failed, and 23 people were executed in December 1969. Micombero relied more and more on Tutsi from his home region and thus angered the other Tutsi clans. In 1971 the last moderate Tutsi within the leadership were removed from the leadership circles after the establishment of a Supreme Council of the Revolution . Only two representatives of the Hutu and the Ganwa (high nobility) belonged to this thirty-member body.

As Ntare V on 30 March 1972 for unknown reasons (the guesses range from commitments concerning its safety and personal amnesty to violent abduction) from Uganda to his homeland returned, he was arrested. On April 16, after a mass arrest, a Hutu riot broke out among the Hutu communities. On April 29, Micombero sacked his entire government and the president of the ruling party. Riots broke out in Bujumbura. Ntare V. was murdered by supporters of Micomberos in his country house, where he was under arrest. Micombero gained the upper hand on May 6 with the help of troops loyal to him. All 450 Hutu remaining in the army were liquidated. The army massacred between 100,000 and 250,000 Hutu in the months that followed. In particular, educated Hutu such as ministers, officials and teachers were killed so as not to endanger the Tutsi's claim to leadership. The genocide in Burundi as the systematic and mass murder of ethnic Hutu received little attention in western countries at that time, although genocide criteria were met. At the same time, between 3,000 and 10,000 Tutsi died in acts of revenge. The events of 1972 are now assigned an important meaning for the later genocide in Rwanda in 1994, as a result of a strong distrust on the part of the Hutu towards the Tutsi.

The entire Hutu elite was dead or in exile in mid-1973. The radical Tutsi leader Albin Nyamoya was again head of government during this period (from July 15, 1972 to June 5, 1973). On July 11, 1974, Micombero received absolute power. Parliament was dissolved and he was head of state, head of government and president of the ruling party. On November 1, 1976 Micombero was overthrown by an army coup led by Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza and Colonel Édouard Nzambimana . He fled to Somalia .

Bagaza era 1976–1987 (Second Republic)

Jean-Baptiste Bagaza became the new head of state and Edouard Nzambimana was head of government from November 12, 1976 to October 13, 1978. A Supreme Revolutionary Council took over government responsibility. But only a few of the culprits of the 1972/73 massacres were arrested and convicted. Bagaza pursued a more left-wing policy and tried to improve relations between Tutsi and Hutu. After the adoption of a new constitution, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza officially became president. The first parliamentary elections in 17 years were held in October 1982. Two candidates from the ruling party UPRONA competed against each other. On August 31, 1984, Bagaza was re-elected. In 1986 the first opposition party, FRODEBU , was founded. Its president is Melchior Ndadaye . While attending the Francophonie Summit in Canada, Bagaza was ousted from office by the army led by Pierre Buyoya .

First era Buyoya 1987 to 1993

Byuoya became head of state and headed a military regime called the Military Committee for National Salvation . In August 1988 the army massacred the civilian population. It was triggered by conflicts between Hutu and Tutsi: the army, of which 99.7% of the members were Tutsi, carried out systematic arrests and abductions of Hutu in the northern provinces of Ngozi , Kirundo and Muyinga . When a soldier shot and killed two Hutu on August 11, villagers lynched them . The result was massive reprisals from the military. Hutu settlements were set on fire with incendiary devices, villagers were driven out of hiding with tear gas , and refugees were shot from army helicopters. Around 20,000 people are killed within a week, mostly Hutu. More than 53,000 Hutu fled to neighboring Rwanda.

On October 6, 1988, Buyoya set up an investigative commission made up of twelve Hutu and twelve Tutsi to clarify the incident. To alleviate ethnic tensions, the number of Hutu ministers was doubled from six to twelve and Hutu Adrien Sibomana was appointed as the new head of government (October 19, 1988). In the following three years, numerous Hutu returned from abroad. With the PALIPEHUTU they founded their own Hutu party on February 1, 1991. In March 1993 a new constitution was introduced that banned ethnic and religious parties. At the same time, other parties were legalized. On June 1, 1993, Hutu Melchior Ndadaye won the presidential election against Buyoya. He took office on July 10th. On June 29, 1993, multi-party parliamentary elections were held.

Putsch and civil war 1993 to 2005

On July 10, 1993, Sylvie Kinigi became head of government. Ndadaye was killed in a failed military coup just 101 days after his election victory. From October 21 to October 27, 1993, the coup leader François Ngézé asserted himself in power. Then the army prevailed. The head of government temporarily took over the office of head of state until February 5, 1994. After that, the Hutu Cyprien Ntaryamira received the office of head of state. In the autumn of 1993 there were extensive massacres, this time mainly Tutsi victims. Estimates speak of 200,000 dead. On February 7, 1994, Anatole Kanyenkiko , a Tutsi, took over as head of government. On April 6, 1994, the plane in which the heads of state of Burundi and Rwanda were traveling was shot down. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya , a Hutu , became the new head of state . Ethnic riots broke out in the suburbs of Bujumbura in April 1994, as well as in August after the arrest of the Tutsi leader Mathias Hitimana . In December 1994, the UN urged both ethnic groups to exercise moderation after further clashes with dead and injured people. On February 16, 1995, the head of government resigned after days of strikes. He was succeeded on February 22, 1995 by Antoine Nduwayo , also a Tutsi. Massacres, both large and small, took place throughout 1995. Around 15,000 people died. After massacres of 4,050 unarmed civilians in Gitega by the army in July and August 1996, the army under Pierre Buyoya came back to power on July 26, 1996. The new head of government was Hutu Pascal-Firmin Ndimira . In December 1996, the army massacred hundreds of civilians in a church. On May 14, 1998, ex-coup activist François Ngézé was charged with the murder of President Ndadaye. On July 23, 2001, Hutu and Tutsi signed an agreement on alternating rotation between Hutu and Tutsi in the office of head of state. On April 30, 2003, Hutu Domitien Ndayizeye took over this office from Tutsi Buyoya. A ceasefire between all parties was negotiated at the beginning of the year. As the last rebel group, the Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL) stopped fighting on February 1, 2005.

Nkurunziza's reign from 2005 to 2020

In the elections for the head of state on August 19, 2005, Hutu Pierre Nkurunziza , whose group CNDD-FDD had already won the July 3, 2005 elections, was victorious . The security situation has improved significantly since then. Many refugees returned. In 2007 there were four camps in Tanzania with fewer than 150,000 Burundian refugees, after there had been ten camps along the border with Burundi with well over half a million refugees in 2003.

The UN has been present in Burundi since 2004: The United Nations Mission in Burundi (ONUB) from May to December 2006 was followed by the Integrated Office of the United Nations in Burundi (BINUB), which was replaced by the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) in 2011 has been.

In August 2005, elections to the Burundian National Assembly were held for the first time in Burundi , in which the CNDD-FDD received a majority and Pierre Nkurunziza became the new president. The two major parties of the transitional government (UPRONA and FRODEBU) were "punished" by the electorate, among other things for corruption and nepotism.

Domestically, the ruling party appears authoritarian and persecutes critics and competitors.

In April 2009 the PALIPEHUTU-FNL officially laid down their arms and was then recognized as the FNL party after 29 years. With the recognition there are now officially no more rebel movements in Burundi.

In June 2010, Nkurunziza was re-elected. The ruling party CNDD-FDD competed in particular with the FNL. The party leader of the FNL, Agathon Rwasa, did not accept the election result. His whereabouts have been unknown since then.

From June 2004 to December 2006, the UN ONUB mission was in Burundi and was replaced by BINUB 2007. From January 2011, BINUB was replaced by BNUB , the mandate was valid until the end of 2011 and was extended three times until the end of 2014.

At the end of April 2015, incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza was proposed by the ruling party for a third term, which sparked violent protests in the country. On May 13, Army General Godefroid Niyombare declared the president deposed and at the same time the parliament dissolved (see coup in Burundi 2015 ). After two days, the putschists had to give up. The elections scheduled for May and June 2015 have been postponed. The parliamentary election took place on June 29, 2015. The process was criticized by UN observers as not being free and not fair. The ruling party received 77 of the 100 seats, 21 seats went to the opposition alliance Indépendants de l'espoir despite its boycott . In the presidential election on July 21, 2015, which was also unfair and boycotted by the opposition parties, Nkurunziza received around 69 percent of the vote.

The events surrounding the election are processed by the International Criminal Court . Since Burundi revoked the Rome Statute on October 27, 2017 , the investigation only covers the period up to October 26, 2017. In 2018, a referendum was adopted that allows the President two terms of office of seven years each. President Nkurunziza did not run for the elections in May 2020 . This won his party colleague Évariste Ndayishimiye . Before he could take office in August, Nkurunziza died.

Term of office Évariste Ndyaishimiyes

The former President of Parliament, Pascal Nyabenda , became the new President, but he was replaced by Ndayishimiye on June 18, 2020. Six days later, Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni was appointed prime minister for the first time in 22 years Prosper Bazombanza became the new Vice President .


Watch the video: History of Burundi (January 2023).

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