A “Chris Hani” Moment for Burundi

The current escalation of violence in Bujumbura, Burundi, comes shortly after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s election into a third term of office. Daily demonstrations, the recent assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, and the attempted murder of the famous human rights activist, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, clearly highlights the discontent of civilians who are against the issue of the third mandate.

ACTION’s attendance of the dialogue hosted by the Southern African Liasion’s Office (SALO), and respective partners on August 06, 2015, provided an opportunity for all present to engage on the topic of ‘Building Regional and International Consensus: Burundi, Lesotho, Madagascar and Zimbabwe’. The Special Representative to the Great Lakes region, Ambassador Welile Nhlapo, described the assassination of General Adolphe as a ‘Chris Hani moment for Burundi’, and called for a greater analysis of the current violence that is unfolding in the country, which is embedded in much of Burundi’s ethnic history.

Although the International community (West, USA,) has condemned such horrific attacks, and are threatening to implement sanctions in the forms of travel bans and visa issuances against those responsible for such violations, Mr Sylvere Nsengiyumva of the African Insider Mediators Platform (AIMP) notions toward a more localized mediation effort. In accordance with Mr Nsengiyumva; “But I think this is not enough. It is time to talk about the actions more than in the sharing of recommendations to stop the violence, prevent crimes against humanity and restore confidence between the populations by supporting local organizations (grassroots) in reconciliation and promoting community dialogue in parallel with the negotiations under international mediation”.