Peace Building in Bururndi
Submitted By njerimaina
Burundi, situated in the Great Lakes Region, has experienced cycles of war since independence was attained on 1 July 1962. Of these, two major conflicts have caused the greatest political and social upheaval. In April 1972, Hutu rebels from the south, using Tanzania as a springboard, invaded the country through the province of Bururi, where they systematically slaughtered Tutsis.
The repressive reaction of the Burundian Army (FAB) took the form of equally brutal reprisals against Hutu members of the population, including members of the elite. The war resulted in the first manifestation of internally displaced people (IDP) within Burundi and refugees outside the country’s borders, after thousands of Burundians had fled to neighbouring countries.
In October 1993, the first democratically elected Hutu president, Ndadaye
Melchior, was murdered. When Ndadaye’s successor, President Cyprien
Ntaryamira, and Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana were killed in a plane crash in April 1994, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) described the reaction that followed as an act of genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
It is estimated that more than 300 000 people were killed during the massacre.
EFFORTS TO RESTORE PEACE
An agreement reached in September 1994, the Convention of Government
(CG), made provision for the establishment of a coalition government led by a president from FRODEBU and a prime minister from UPRONA, among other transitional agreements. This arrangement was not very successful and some
Hutu politicians rejoined armed groups such as the CNDD, PALIPEHUTU and the Front pour la Liberation National (FROLINA), which responded with attacks on civilians. The government requested regional military intervention and Major Pierre Buyoya took power in a coup.
Following extensive contacts with the Burundian government, political parties, the army and civil society, former president Julius Nyerere of Tanzania convened meetings between FRODEBU and UPRONA in Mwanza, Tanzania, in April and May 1996 to begin negotiations. No progress was made at these meetings and Nyerere proposed a summit of regional heads of state on Burundi in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Arusha Agreement provided for the following:
A transition led by an interim government
■ To culminate in democratic elections
■ The creation of a Senate and amendments to the composition of the National
■ Judicial reform to decrease Tutsi domination
■ Military reform to decrease Tutsi domination and facilitate the integration of rebel forces into the army
■ The establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Committee
■ An international military force to assist in the management of the transition ■ An independent investigation into alleged crimes of genocide
The accord also provide for a 30-month period of power-sharing. Buyoya would act as the interim president for 18 months from 1 November 2002, after which
Domitien Ndayyizeye of FRODEBU would succeed him on 1 May 2003.
The main armed groups were not signatories to the agreement, but continued efforts to involve them eventually led to several ceasefire agreements between the government and the groups. The Arusha Agreement finally brought the war in Burundi to an end. The power-sharing agreement resulted in elections in 2005, which were won by the former armed group CNDD-FDD. Its leader,
Pierre Nkurunziza, became the new president.
In my opinion ,I can say the government of Burundi is still recovering from the war though it’s not doing as good as Rwanda is.Burundi’s successive conflicts are rooted in an unequal distribution of wealth and power which has strong ethnic and regional dimensions. It is therefore clear that, if the new Burundian leadership is serious about building peace, it must engineer institutions that uproot the legacy of discrimination and promote equal opportunities for social mobility for all ethnic groups and regions. Education is an especially important sector in this regard and actions to decentralize secondary education ,thereby improving access and to subsidize loans for students attending public universities, could do much to reduce an important sector of social exclusion and marginalization. The international community can assist demobilization and use debt relief and aid to support the reduction of inequality and the containment of sectarian tendencies on all sides.
The war in Burundi was political and also ethnic just as Rwanda was. It was between the Hutu and the Tutsi people.