101124 Burundi's shrinking political space

tl_files/aefjn-images/1pdficon_sm.jpg 101124 Burundi's shrinking political space

101203 BURUNDI - Delays in justice mechanisms fuel impunity

tl_files/aefjn-images/1pdficon_sm.jpg101203 BURUNDI - Delays in justice mechanisms fuel impunity

101130 BURUNDI - Calls for dialogue

tl_files/aefjn-images/1pdficon_sm.jpg101130 BURUNDI - Calls for dialogue

101126 BURUNDI - Civil Liberties face Threat

tl_files/aefjn-images/1pdficon_sm.jpg101126 BURUNDI - Civil Liberties face Threat

100917 EurAc on post-electoral Burundi

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_Africa/pdficon.jpg   100917 EurAc on post-electoral Burundi

100831 Veering off the path of peaceful power-sharing

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_Africa/pdficon.jpg   100831 BURUNDI - Veering off the path of peaceful power-sharing

100610 Burundi's election wobbles

BURUNDI - Trading accusations over poll results

application/msword BURUNDI 100527 - Trading accusations over poll results.doc (52.0 KiB)

0516 EurAc election observation mission to Burundi

News BURUNDI 10 Février à 07 Février 2010

application/pdf BURUNDI 100201-07.pdf (90.8 KiB)

For free and transparent elections in Burundi

In a communiqué released on 22 October 2009 with the title “ Burundi needs free and transparent elections organised by a fully independent National Electoral Commission” EurAc claims that Burundi is on the path to democracy. Even though it is still young, not to say embryonic, it is real. EurAc advocates free and transparent elections for 2010, to be organised by a national electoral commission which will be truly independent, thus remaining on track for democratisation and the power to address the huge socio-economic issues of the near future. To achieve this EurAc urges that the EU and its member states should assist Burundi in ending the work of the present legislature and organising new free and transparent elections within the constitutional framework and in accordance with international norms. It also urges that particular attention should be paid to the independence of the National Electoral Commission (CENI). Furthermore it recommends that the space for the democratic participation of civil society and the press should be protected.

The Burundi Diaspora get involved in the reconstruction of the country

In an article published on 10 October the newspaper Le Courrier reported the return to their country of Burundians from the diaspora, loaded with diplomas and academic distinctions, but “ejected by the European system” which had trained them. They had then turned to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which had put in place a programme called Migration for the development of Africa (MIDA) which enables them to be of use in their country of origin. The article cites the case of agricultural engineers or journalists who have returned to Burundi where their expertise has been greatly appreciated. These migrants do not only bring their knowledge, they also have different attitudes to their country of origin and its traditions. Some of them have no hesitation in distancing themselves from traditions which “strangle many families financially”. Clearly, “ The diaspora brings in much more than knowledge. It brings in a renewed set of values.”

Burundi - Disarmament at half cock


On 1 and 27 October, the National Police announced that it had put its hands on some major arms caches as well as flags, communications and office equipment attributed to the FNL. On 31 October the same police force said it had seized nearly 14,000 weapons, during one week’s national disarmament campaign among the civilian population between 19 and 28 October. While the government authorities were announcing excellent results from their campaign which asked all civilians to have handed in their weapons not later than 28 October, missionaries in Bujumbura contacted by the MISNA news agency gave a more sober interpretation. According to them the number of weapons collected is even fewer. Moreover, some sources «indicate a presumed distribution of weapons by secret services to some ex-combatants who had been invited to collaborate – undoubtedly those which had previously been handed back to the authorities». For its part, the official body responsible for disarmament states that since 2007 only 70,000 weapons have been collected out of the 100,000 to 300,000 weapons in people’s possession. Observers also commented that the discovery of these caches of weapons are in no way surprising since the  dissident wing of the FNL led by Jacques Kenese and Pasteur Habimana, the former FNL spokesman, have decided to collaborate with the regime, as proved by their communiqué of 28 October. 


The coming Burundian elections


Burundi needs free and transparent elections  organised by a truly Independent National Electoral Commission

Brussels, October 22nd 2009.


Burundi has a violent past. After its independence in 1962, the country fell into a struggle for power, provoking ethnic exclusion, massive cycles of violence and even an open war which began in 1993. Step after step, Burundi has come out of this crisis. Long years of negotiations resulted in the 2005 elections. Well organized, proclaimed free and transparent by national and international independent observers, culminating in clear results accepted by everyone. The 2005 elections put in place legitimate institutions that were sorely needed in the country.


Nevertheless, this first legislature, which will soon come to an end, did not materialise all expectations. The state institutions have gone through various obstacles. The political landscape was unstable; many parties suffered internal tensions and even divisions. The last rebel group has only been integrated the institutions in April 2009. The population still lives in precarious living conditions, and bad governance has been a major obstruction to an effective struggle against poverty. The rule of law is still under construction, and the potential of violence is not yet under control. But all these preoccupations should not let us forget that the country has been able to make important progress since the end of the war: all ex-rebellions have been now integrated into politics and the military. The multiparty system is working, and despite pressure from the authorities, the press and civil society have succeeded in delivering quality work. Ethnic cleavages are no more considered the root cause of all problems in the country, and the army is no more an instrument belonging to one ethnic group to protect its own interests.


Burundi is on the road to democracy. Still young, practically embryonic but real. To remain on track toward democratisation and to be able to manage the massive socio-economic agenda for the near future, Burundi needs free and transparent elections in 2010, organised by a truly independent national electoral commission.


When the Parliament and the Senate were debating the electoral code in September 2009, the international community has given clear evidence of its capacity to play a constructive role and encourage conflicting parties to seek a consensus. 


Therefore, EurAc recommends to the European Union and to its Member States:


  1. To assist Burundi to bring its first legislature to an end and to organise new free and transparent elections within the constitutional framework and according to international norms;
  2. To seek in its dialogue with the Burundian government a delicate balance between loyal support (in terms of finances, expertise and political and technical support) on the one hand and a genuine pressure on the other to be vigilant in support of key democratic principles without falling into a micro-management of the elections;
  3. To give particular attention to the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI); 
  4. Contribute to the protection of the space for civil society and the press, so that they can play their democratic role 
  5. To invest in local and international electoral observation by official instances such as European national Parliaments, as well as the monitoring by the Burundian civil society and its partners of the European civil society.
  6. To stimulate reflection and to support the elaboration of a post-election strategy, particularly foreseeing managing those who will lose the elections.


Kris Berwouts

Rue des Tanneurs, 165 B - 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)2 213 04 000



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