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Burundi

CrisisWatch Burundi

Unchanged Situation

Inauguration of President-elect Ndayishimiye was fast-tracked following sudden death of incumbent President Nkurunziza, opposition continued to suffer repression from ruling party’s youth wing, and relations with Rwanda remained tense. Constitutional Court 4 June rejected presidential election runner-up Agathon Rwasa’s May appeal against provisional results and confirmed ruling party CNDD-FDD candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye as winner. Rwasa next day accepted decision and said he would not bring case before East African Community’s Court of Justice. With new president due to take office in Aug, death of President Nkurunziza 8 June created power vacuum. While some within CNDD-FDD called for National Assembly President Pascal Nyabenda to become interim president as foreseen by Constitution, govt 11 June asked Constitutional Court for guidance; Court next day ruled that President-elect Ndayishimiye should be sworn in immediately. In inauguration speech in capital Gitega 18 June, Ndayishimiye promised to carry on legacy of his predecessor. In session boycotted by opposition, National Assembly 23 June approved nomination of Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni as PM and Prosper Bazombanza as VP; Ndayishimiye 28 June appointed cabinet of 15 ministers dominated by regime hardliners; both Bunyoni and Interior Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca under international sanctions for alleged involvement in political repression and violence against civilians since 2015. Meanwhile, CNDD-FDD youth wing Imbonerakure continued to repress members of Rwasa’s National Congress for Freedom (CNL) party. Notably, Imbonerakure 10 June reportedly captured three CNL members whom they accused of celebrating Nkurunziza’s death in Citiboke province. Although Rwandan President Kagame congratulated Ndayishimiye for electoral victory 6 June and offered condolences over Nkurunziza’s death 10 June, reportedly his first public statements on Burundi since 2015, Burundi-Rwanda relations remained tense. Rwandan Defence Ministry 27 June said around 100 armed men from Burundi, some equipped with Burundian army material, attacked Rwandan Defence Forces in Ruheru sector near Burundian border; Burundi govt same day rejected accusation (see also Rwanda).

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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 suffering in silence. The New Humanitarian

Nelleke van de Walle

Deputy Project Director, Central Africa
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 camps, capital city and rural areas, Burundi and the rest of the world. The Guardian

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 escalating violence]. RFI

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
23 Sep 2016
Le discours de Bujumbura est un piège qui se referme sur lui. Iwacu

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

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
18 Aug 2016
Le régime burundais est en grande difficulté. Et le problème des gouvernements qui arrivent à bout d’arguments, c’est que ça mène à de plus en plus de violence. La Presse

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

De-escalating Tensions in the Great Lakes

President Tshisekedi’s plans for joint operations with DR Congo’s belligerent eastern neighbours against its rebels risks regional proxy warfare. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to encourage diplomatic efforts in the region and Tshisekedi to shelve his plan for the joint operations.

Op-Ed / Africa

AU Heads of State Summit needs to whip Nkurunziza back into line

African heads of state should press Burundi to open the political space, in particular letting opposition politicians campaign freely and safely and allowing in international observers, in order to prevent a reprise of past violence or worse.

Originally published in The East African

Report / Africa

Running Out of Options in Burundi

Talks about ending Burundi’s crisis – sparked by the president’s decision to seek a third term – have fizzled out. With elections nearing in 2020, tensions could flare. Strong regional pressure is needed to begin opening up the country’s political space before the balloting.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2019

In 2019, the African Union faces many challenges, with conflicts old and new simmering across the continent. To help resolve these crises – our annual survey lists seven particularly pressing ones – the regional organisation should also push ahead with institutional reforms.

Also available in Français
Report / Africa

Soutenir la population burundaise face à la crise économique

Au Burundi, le déclin de l’économie exacerbe le risque de violence. L’Union européenne et ses Etats membres, qui ont suspendu leur aide directe au gouvernement, doivent redoubler d’efforts pour que leur soutien bénéficie à la population.  

Also available in English

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Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
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