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Burundi Politics.

Burundi's first inhabitants were hunter-gatherers called Twa .These were followed by Bantu Agriculturalists called the Hutus, who might have originated be from the Congo basin.

Later, tall warriors, who are believed to have come from Ethiopia, the Tutsi pastoralists arrived in both Burundi and neighboring Rwanda. Later being either a Tutsi or a Hutu was on the basis of economic muscle rather than blood. Hutus were originally the owners of land and would lease it out to Tutsis in exchange for cattle. Later Most of the Hutus and Twas were subjugated and had to work for the Tutsis, A monarch, led by a sub-divine head called the (Tutsi) Mwami(King) was established by the Tutsi Supremacists in the 12th century and through this new arrangement, all the land belonged to the Mwami and he gave out most of it to his fellow Tutsis.
A worthy Twa or Hutu would be upgraded to the rank of a Tutsi and also an extremely impoverished Tutsi who lost his estate would be demoted to a Hutu!
The royal family, and the ganwa (princes) who ruled in their name, regarded themselves as neither Hutu nor Tutsi, and it is often argued, especially by Tutsis, that this meant the monarchy was a unifying factor in Burundian life.
A dispute between two ganwa sons of monarch Ntare II Rugamba (1795-1852) for succession persisted as a rift between their lineages, the Bezi and the Batare, and played an important role in colonial and post-independence politics.
Bezi ganwa founded the Union pour le progrès national (UPRONA), soon headed by the mwami Mwambutsa's popular son, Prince Louis Rwagasore. Rwagasore quickly established a broad-based constituency, with strong representation among both Hutus and Tutsis. Batare ganwa then founded the rival Parti démocratique chrétien (PDC), which took a strong anti-Communist and anti-Lumumba line, appealing to the Belgian administration, who gave the party its increasingly open backing.
Preparations for independence in Congo and Ruanda-Urundi began in 1959.Elections were held in Burundi in 1961 in which, contrary to the wishes of the administration, UPRONA triumphed, securing 80% of the vote and 58 of the 64 seats in the legislature. Prince Rwagasore was appointed prime minister, but on 13 October he was assassinated by agents of the PDC, almost certainly with Belgian assistance.
Rwagasore's murder both deprived Burundi of its ablest leader and destroyed the growing ethnic cohesion he had struggled so hard to achieve, at a time when programs against Tutsis in Rwanda were killing ethnic relations between the two communities throughout the region.

Prince Louis Rwagasore-Burundi's Founding Leader,the father of the Nation.


Independence came in January 1962, and politically orchestrated ethnic violence began later in the year, splitting UPRONA into Hutu and Tutsi factions, and paralysing government. Mwambutsa tried to fill the power vacuum, but instead alienated the political class on both sides. In January 1965, Mwambutsa dismissed his Tutsi prime minister and replaced him with Pierre Ngendendumwe, a Hutu, who was killed by a Rwandan Tutsi refugee three days later. Mwambutsa called legislative elections in which Hutu candidates took 23 of the 33 seats in the National Assembly, only to find them denied power by Mwambutsa's appointment of a Tutsi courtier, Leopold Biha, as prime minister instead.

Mwambutsa iv Bangilicenge.


On 19 October 1965, a group of Hutu army and gendarmerie officers shot and wounded Biha and then attacked the palace, where they were repulsed by loyal troops under Captain Michel Micombero. Elsewhere, other Hutu troops mutinied against their Tutsi officers, and by the time order had been restored, Mwambutsa had fled into Zaïre(now DRC). The failed coup led to a major elimination of Hutus in the armed forces and the political class, and power became an exclusively Tutsi preserve.
Mwambutsa attempted to preserve the monarchy by sending his son Charles Ndizeye to Burundi to act as Prince Regent. On 8 July 1966 Charles revoked the constitution, dismissed Biha's administration and declared himself mwami as Ntare V. Ntare appointed Micombero prime minister, but in November Micombero deposed Ntare, and proclaimed a republic, with himself as president, prime minister, minister of defence and head of UPRONA!

Charles Ndizeye.

charles ndizeye

A further alleged Hutu coup attempt in September 1969 provoked from Micombero a bloody extermination of Hutus in the military. In April 1972, a Hutu insurrection began near Bujumbura, in which 2000 to 3000 Tutsis lost their lives, following which the armed forces launched genocidal reprisals, eliminating almost the entire educated Hutu population. As many as 200 000 Hutus   may have lost their lives in this bloodbath, which was intended not only to prevent any repetition of the Hutu victory in Burundi, but of terrorizing the Hutu majority into submission.

Lt.Gen.Michel Micombero.


Burundi Parliament.
An estimated 150 000 Hutus fled the country, launching occasional raids from refugee camps, which were also the birthplace of the militant PALIPEHUTU in 1980. A new constitution in 1974 made the head of UPRONA the automatic head of the government and state. In 1976, Micombero was ousted as president by Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza. Bagaza, like Micombero, is a Tutsi from Bururi, and Tutsi control of the state was further consolidated during his time in office. During the 1980s, the Bagaza regime's human rights record deteriorated and the state came into direct conflict with the Church, which it suspected of stirring up Hutu resistance.

Lt.Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza.


UPRONA's anti-clerical campaign antagonized the country's principal aid donors, Belgium and France. This coincided with unrest within the military over Bagaza's plans to economize by forcing certain officers into early retirement. While Bagaza was in Quebec for the Francophone summit on 3 September 1987, the disgruntled officers acted, installing Major Pierre Buyoya, also a Tutsi from Bururi, in power in a bloodless coup.

Maj. Pierre Buyoya.


Buyoya indicated from the outset that he wanted to draw Hutus into the political elite, alarming Tutsi radicals, not least in the armed forces, who feared that this would launch a process that would end in Rwanda-style anti-Tutsi genocide. Buyoya compromised to appease his Tutsi critics, and resulting Hutu disappointment and frustration led to violence in 1988 in the north of the country, in which hundreds of Tutsis were killed. Reprisals swiftly followed. 20 000 Hutu lost their lives and another 60 000 fled into Rwanda. President Buyoya responded by bringing more Hutus into government, including the Prime Minister Adrien Sibomana. Surviving several coup attempts, in late 1991 Buyoya's government produced a draft charter of national unity, as part of its careful progress towards the introduction of a democratic system. These reforms were approved by referendum in March 1992, and a multi-party system was introduced a month later.

On 1 June 1993 the first presidential election under the new constitution was won by Melchior Ndadaye of the Front pour la démocratie au Burundi (FRODEBU), who took 65% of the vote to Buyoya's 32%. FRODEBU later won the legislative elections too, securing 71% of the vote, and 65 of the 81 seats, while UPRONA took the balance.

Melchoir Ndadaye(President from 1st June 1993 - 21st October 1993).
Ndadaye became Burundi's first Hutu president in July, and honored a campaign promise by appointing Sylvie Kinigi, a Tutsi from UPRONA, as prime minister. There were seven other Tutsis in the new government. On 21 October 1993 Ndadaye and six other FRODEBU leaders were assassinated during an attempted coup, secretly facilitated by senior military officers. Ndadaye's murder sparked massacres of Tutsis, in many cases orchestrated by FRODEBU officials, that claimed up to 50 000 lives. Gradually, the army regained control of the countryside, but perpetrated their own massacres, and more than 600 000 Hutus fled the country.
FRODEBU was much weakened by the killings, and though the party managed to retain the presidency, UPRONA and other predominantly Tutsi parties secured 40% of executive posts for themselves under the government of Ndadaye's successor Cyprien Ntaryamira.

Cyprien Ntaryamira.


On 6 April 1994 Ntaryamira died with Rwanda's President Habyarimana when their aircraft was shot down over Kigali. FRODEBU wanted Sylvestre Ntibantunganya as president, to which the Tutsi opposition agreed, but only in return for an even greater stake in government. A new agreement was reached in September; further empowering Tutsi parties, brokered by the UN special representative Ahmedou Ould Abdallah. This enabled Ntibantunganya to become president, but for many in FRODEBU the agreement was a compromise too far, and a radical faction broke away to form a new party, led by interior minister Leonard Nyangoma, called the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD). The CNDD also had an armed wing intended to end Tutsi hegemony by defeating the armed forces, called the Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (FDD).

Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.

The FDD's ranks were soon swelled by fugitives from the old Rwandese army (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe militia, and immediately began engaging the armed forces, as well as attacking civilian targets. The civil war intensified throughout 1995, and in March 1996 the former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere was mandated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the UN to mediate its end. In June 1996, Nyerere secured Ntibantunganya's agreement to a regional intervention force to stop the war. This was perceived by the Burundian armed forces as a threat, and in July Ntibantunganya was informed by armed forces commanders that they could no longer guarantee his safety. Taking the hint, Ntibantunganya fled to the US embassy, and Buyoya was once again installed as president.
Buyoya suspended the national assembly and banned party political activity, but tried to soften the blow by appointing a Hutu, Pascal-Firmin Ndimara, as prime minister. The cabinet, though Tutsi dominated, also included several other Hutus drawn from UPRONA and FRODEBU. Buyoya's coup was condemned by the international community, and in August 1996 Burundi's neighbours (except for Zaire) imposed sanctions in a bid to force a return to democratic government, and the opening of talks with rebel groups. The National Assembly was restored in October 1996, and, after Buyoya disclosed that his government had held secret talks with the CNDD in Rome, sanctions were partially lifted in April 1997.
Tutsi opposition to the talks with the CNDD forced their premature closure in July 1997. After months of negotiations, a new power sharing agreement was reached in June 1998 between the Buyoya government and members of FRODEBU who had not left for exile when Buyoya took over. The agreement, which was opposed by FRODEBU leaders in exile, including the party president Jean Minani, brought FRODEBU back into government in return for legitimizing Buyoya's rule. A new transitional constitution was introduced and Buyoya was formally sworn in as president.
In June 1998 peace talks mediated by Nyerere began in Arusha, Tanzania, attended by most Burundian political parties, which managed to agree on an agenda for future discussions, but little else. The FDD and PALIPEHUTU 's armed wing, the Forces nationales pour la libération (FNL), both split from their political wings during the talks, and their leaders demanded that they replace the CNDD and PALIPEHUTU delegations at the talks. This was refused by the mediation at the behest of other negotiating parties, and the FDD and FNL stayed outside the talks from that time on.
By June 1999 the negotiating parties had merged into three groups. Seven predominantly Hutu parties, headed by FRODEBU, formed G7, minor, predominantly Tutsi parties formed G8 (later G10), and the government, the national assembly and UPRONA constituted a third block. Back home, meanwhile, the civil war intensified and the armed forces resumed its controversial policy of regroupment, which involved the forced removal of mostly Hutu villagers from their homes into camps.
Nyerere died in October 1999, and was replaced as mediator by former South African president Nelson Mandela. Mandela adopted a vigorous approach from the outset, and exerted strong leverage on negotiators to reach a deal as quickly as possible. In a bid to bring the FDD and FNL back into the process, Mandela met with their leadership several times, and then posed their demands to Buyoya. The army's regroupment policy was suspended in consequence, and Mandela says the FDD and FNL told him in March 2000 that they would join the peace process. However, the two militias never did, and instead kept fighting, despite strong criticism from Mandela and most of the international community.
The political parties negotiating in Arusha eventually, under sustained pressure and amid much mutual recrimination, signed an agreement in August 2000. Donors responded with major aid pledges at a conference in December 2000, while the FDD and FNL denounced the agreement and stepped up their military campaigns. The worsening civil war threatened to derail the Arusha agreement before its implementation had even begun, and in July 2001 Mandela brokered a deal between Buyoya and FRODEBU to allow the transitional government to come into being on 1 November 2001, with or without a ceasefire. There were bitter disputes, particularly within Tutsi parties, about who the first president should be, but the armed forces retained their support for Buyoya, who ultimately and unsurprisingly secured the post, with FRODEBU 's Domitien Ndayizeye as vice-president.

Dominitien Ndayizeye


Immediately prior to the installation of the new multiparty government, which was followed in January 2002 by the installation of a new transitional national assembly and senate, the South African national defence force (SANDF) deployed over 600 troops. The deployment was at Mandela's request, with the troops required to act as a special protection unit for politicians returning from exile to take part.
Despite the many forecasts of their imminent demise, the multiparty government, the national assembly, and the senate all remained in place and functioning during 2002. However, the civil war intensified during the year prompting many Burundians to lose faith in the new transitional institutions. Hopes were raised by the signing of a ceasefire on 2 December 2002 between the government and the CNDD-FDD, brokered by South African deputy president Jacob Zuma, and following sustained pressure on the FDD from regional governments and the international community.
However the ceasefire was never implemented and fighting between the FAB and CNDD-FDD continued in the first half of 2003. Although Buyoya, the FAB and the majority of the other Tutsi parties argued for an extension of Buyoya’s presidency, FRODEBU and the South African mediation team insisted that the transfer of power to FRODEBU  proceed as planned. Ndayizeye, FRODEBU’s presidential candidate was sworn in as president on April 30, 2003. Alphonse Kadege, the president of UPRONA and a close ally of Buyoya’s, was sworn in as vice-president. Ndayizeye is Burundi’s first Hutu head of state since 1996.
After a series of unsuccessful attempts to get the various parties to implement the December 2002 agreement between the government and the CNDD-FDD, consensus was reached in Pretoria in October 2003 under the mediation of South African deputy president Jacob Zuma. The CNDD-FDD agreed to abandon its armed struggle and canton its fighters in exchange for four government ministries, 40% of command positions in the army, as well as a significant proportion of diplomatic and local government posts. The CNDD-FDD joined the government on 23 November 2003. PALIPEHUTU-FNL vowed to continue fighting.  
In January 2004 Ndayizeye changed the military high command structure, allotting 40% of the posts to the CNDD-FDD as promised. However, in a breach of previous agreements with the government, senior leaders of minority factions of the PALIPEHUTU-FNL and CNDD-FDD were not given senior military posts.
Since the CNDD-FDD joined the government, the security situation throughout most of the country has improved considerably, and tens of thousands of refugees began returning to the country in the first half of 2004. Meanwhile PALIPEHUTU-FNL continued its military campaign in its stronghold of Bujumbura Rurale where it faced stiff opposition from the FAB and many CNDD-FDD fighters who had joined up with them. The cantonment of CNDD-FDD troops also did not proceed as planned.
Talks between the government and PALIPEHTU-FNL have never went far. Nadiyizeye met with PALIPEHUTU-FNL leaders in the Hague in early January 2004. However subsequent meetings ended in a stalemate and PALIPEHUTU-FNL unilaterally suspended negotiations with the government in February. Fighting in Bujumbura rural resumed shortly afterwards.
PALIPEHUTU-FNL then surprisingly declared a unilateral cease-fire with the government during their April party congress, adding that it would retaliate immediately if it was attacked by FAB troops. Several days later fighting between the two groups broke out again, which each side blaming the other for attacking its positions.
A series of meetings with the representatives of the political parties in the government to discuss outstanding issues, including a new draft constitution failed to reach any consensus, and Ndayizeye called for the postponement of general elections which were scheduled to take place in November 2004. In late-May he published a revised timetable for the elections which set the presidential election for late-2005. This was rejected by FRODEBU as well as the CNDD-FDD, but was backed by several Tutsi-led parties including UPRONA, who wanted to see a delay in the referendum – scheduled for October 21 st – until they are satisfied with the text of the constitution.
A summit of regional heads of state was held in Dar es Salaam in early June 2004 and concluded that elections must proceed as planned. Meanwhile they also ruled to impose sanctions on PALIPEHUTU-FNL because they felt that the movement had no made sufficient efforts to integrate the peace process.
Tutsi political parties remain at odds with Hutu parties over how to fill the Tutsi quota in the cabinet and the Senate. According to the Arusha peace agreement, 40% of the new cabinet will be staffed by Tutsis, who will also hold 50% of the Senate seats. The Tutsi political parties argue that the parties from which their representatives hail should already be specified, fearing that otherwise the Hutu parties, who are certain to win the election, will simply pick pro-Hutu Tutsis for the positions. Meanwhile the Hutu political parties have argued that this would render the polls irrelevant, and that the Tutsi quota will not be allocated to political parties, but rather to individuals. In protest, Tutsi political parties boycotted cabinet meetings for two weeks, during which time the scenario favored by the Hutu political parties was included in the draft constitution. It was subsequently adopted by parliament in mid-September 2004.  
Although Tutsi parties protested that the vote had been illegal, Ndayizeye presented the draft constitution to the Constitutional Court for approval. However, the constitutional court failed to meet as planned on 2 October and Ndayizeye subsequently withdrew the draft from the court.  
As it became increasingly clear that it would be impossible to hold a national referendum on the constitution as long as the main parties did not agree on the text, urgent talks were convened in Kampala in mid-October 2004 between the newly-appointed Burundian Independent Electoral Commission (Commission Electorale Nationale Independante, CENI), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Zuma and ONUB representatives.  
Several days’ later Burundian political leaders and regional heads of state met in Kampala in an attempt to achieve the minimal consensus on the text of the draft constitution. The new constitution entered into effect on November 1st  2004 and is due to be submitted to a referendum on December 22 .Local elections at the commune level are due to be held in February, while legislative and senatorial elections in March and presidential elections are scheduled to take place on April 22.

Executive Branch.
The current President of Burundi is Pierre Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader of the Hutu National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD )who was elected unopposed as the new President of Burundi by the parliament on 19 August 2005. Nkurunziza was the first president chosen through democratic means since the start of the civil war in 1993 and was sworn in on 26 August, replacing transitional president Domitien Ndayizeye.
The Vice Presidents are   Thérence Sinunguruza (UPRONA) and Gervais Rufyiri nominated by the president and they join the council of ministers to form the executive branch.

Pierre Nkurunziza-Sitting Burundi President

pierre nkurunziza-burundi president
Legislative Branch.
The National Assembly (Assemblée nationale) has 118 members, elected for a five year term by proportional representation with a 2% barrier. The Senate (Sénat) has 49 members, elected for a five year term by electoral colleges of communal councilors. Extra seats in both chambers can be added to ensure that ethnic and gender quotas are met. Burundi has a multi-party system, with two or three strong parties and a third party that is electorally successful. Parties are usually based on ethnic background.
The legal system of Burundi is based on German and French civil codes and customary law. In 1987 there were 64 tribunals of first instance.
The 1992 constitution established a number of new courts, including a constitutional court to review all new laws for conformity to the constitution. It also created a high court responsible for resolving charges of high level crimes by high level government officials. A military court had jurisdiction over crimes by members of the military.
The military coup in 1996 abrogated the 1992 constitution and replaced it by a transitional decree. The decree of 13 September 1996 provided for an independent judiciary, which in fact was dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group. The decree also provided for the right to privacy.
As of 2005, the judicial system was divided into the Cour Supreme (Supreme Court), Constitutional Court (created by the 2005 constitution), and three Courts of Appeal. The president nominates members of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, with the Supreme Court the final court of appeal. There are 17 province-level Tribunals of First Instance, and 123 local tribunals.


In 2005, Burundi had 50,500 active men in uniform. The Army had 40,000 personnel, including a 200 member Air Wing. The troops included 7 infantry battalions, two light armored squadrons, one engineer battalion, one air defense battalion, and one artillery battalion. The Air Wing had two combat capable aircraft that were also used in a training capacity. Paramilitary gendarmerie numbered around 5,500. The defense budget in 2005 was $46.1 million.
International Participation.
Burundi is a member of UN (since1962) ECA, African Development Bank, G-77, the ACP Group, COMESA, and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), African Union. WTO (since 23 July 1995). Burundi, Rwanda, and the DROC form the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL),Burundi also cooperates with Rwanda and Tanzania in the development of the Kagera River Basin, Nonaligned Movement, United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB-since May 2004) and consists of 44 member countries offering support for reconciliation and peacekeeping among the Tutsi, Hutu, and other conflicting ethnic groups from the boundary regions of Burundi, DROC, Rwanda, and Uganda, Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.

In 2005, Burundi had 50,500 active men in uniform. The Army had 40,000 personnel, including a 200 member Air Wing. The troops included 7 infantry battalions, two light armored squadrons, one engineer battalion, one air defense battalion, and one artillery battalion. The Air Wing had two combat capable aircraft that were also used in a training capacity. Paramilitary gendarmerie numbered around 5,500. The defense budget in 2005 was $46.1 million.
International Participation.
Burundi is a member of EAC(East African Community,together with Uganda,Rwanda,Kenya and Tanzania)and UN (since1962) ECA, African Development Bank, G-77, the ACP Group, COMESA, and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), African Union. WTO (since 23 July 1995). Burundi, Rwanda, and the DRC form the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL),Burundi also cooperates with Rwanda and Tanzania in the development of the Kagera River Basin, Nonaligned Movement, United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB-since May 2004) and consists of 44 member countries offering support for reconciliation and peacekeeping among the Tutsi, Hutu, and other conflicting ethnic groups from the boundary regions of Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.


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