Burundi

Pierre Nkurunziza’s 2015 re-election for a third, unconstitutional term sparked a political and economic crisis marked by violent repression and deteriorated living conditions, pushing over 400,000 Burundians to flee the country. Evariste Ndayishimiye’s May 2020 election as Burundi’s new president has so far not lead to major political and economic changes, but he has reached out to regional and international actors, partly ending the country’s insularity, and thousands of those who fled following the 2015 crisis have returned. Through field-based research and engagement with government and foreign actors, Crisis Group aims to alert policymakers to the risk of ethnic polarisation. We advocate for respect of the 2000 Arusha agreement and renewed engagement with the Burundian authorities, conditional on respect for human rights, a functioning opposition and civil society, and independent media. 

CrisisWatch Burundi

Unchanged Situation

President Ndayishimiye moved to consolidate control over ruling party and engaged in intense diplomacy on security crisis in eastern DR Congo.

Ndayishimiye restructured ruling party’s governing bodies. Ruling CNDD-FDD party’s council of elders, chaired by Ndayishimiye, 2 Nov nominated new general commissioners and replaced several party administrators; restructuring of party’s governing bodies comes amid power struggle between Ndayishimiye and CNDD-FDD Sec Gen Révérien Ndikuriyo.

Bujumbura took active role in regional diplomacy. Ndayishimiye, who has been East African Community (EAC) rotating president since June, 4 Nov hosted former Kenyan president and EAC’s peace process facilitator for DR Congo (DRC), Uhuru Kenyatta; 7 Nov convened rare summit of EAC heads of state on sidelines of UN climate change conference in Egypt to push for concerted response to security crisis in eastern DRC. Ndayishimiye 23 Nov attended EAC summit on peace and security in eastern DRC in Angolan capital Luanda, and 28 Nov opened third session of EAC-led Nairobi talks between Congolese govt and several armed groups active in country’s east (see DR Congo).

In other important developments. In Cibitoke province, security forces 12-16 Nov clashed with Kinyarwanda-speaking rebels in Kibira forest, killing at least seven and arresting four. International Criminal Court 25 Nov reported progress on investigations into bloody aftermath of 2015 coup attempt, saying it intends to issue arrest warrants shortly.

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In The News

29 Jul 2020
We should not expect spectacular reversals. Ndayishimiye is himself a product of the CNDD-FDD system and… must ensure the loyalty of the executives who were not necessari... The New Humanitarian

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
8 Jul 2020
This could be a first sign that [Ndayishimiye] will be able to take decisions that will not blindly follow in his predecessor's steps. Deutsche Welle

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
20 Aug 2019
[In Burundi] the government is pushing back on international pressure, trying to convince international actors that everything is alright. Meanwhile, its population is su... The New Humanitarian

Nelleke van de Walle

Project Director, Great Lakes
7 Nov 2016
Mobile phones and social media maintain a link between many of Burundi’s constituent parts that appear steadily more remote and disconnected: the diaspora and the refugee... The Guardian
Thierry Vircoulon

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
11 Oct 2016
The only thing that's important now, the only card to play at the moment, is to try and convince the neighbouring countries to put pressure on Burundi [to end the escalat... RFI
Thierry Vircoulon

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
23 Sep 2016
C’est toujours la même rhétorique que le régime utilise comme réponse quand il est mis en cause à Genève, New York ou Addis-Abeba Iwacu
Thierry Vircoulon

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa

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Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
Onesphore Sematumba

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