Burundi: Reconciliation not yet achieved among UPRONA factions 57 years after legislative victory

On 18 September 1961, Uprona party led by Prince Louis Rwagasore won the legislative elections. The party followers have divided themselves into groups for a long time. Leaders of the party diverge on the reconciliation process.

Abel Gashatsi (left) and Tatien Sibomana (right) both defend the ideals of the independence hero despite divisions

Abel Gashatsi (left) and Tatien Sibomana (right) both defend the ideals of the independence hero despite divisions

Abel Gashatsi, chairman of Uprona party says the victory the party won in the legislative elections on 18 September 1961 led Burundi to its independence. He also says the 57th anniversary is celebrated at the time when the reconciliation process has made significant steps. “Some provinces are more advanced than others at the local level. Some followers have already rejoined the party” he says by giving an example of Muramvya province. He, however, says there is a group of ‘leaders’ who think that the reconciliation is not possible without them. “But we will continue the process with the main objective of winning the 2020 elections,” he says.

Concerning the misunderstandings that would be between the leaders of the officially recognized Uprona, Gashatsi says the situation is calm and under control. “Regular meetings are organized to find solutions to different issues”. And Uprona party is visible and respected, he says.

For Gashatsi, the legislative victory should inspire the party followers to keep jealously the heritage and values of peace and justice advanced by the Independence hero, Prince Louis Rwagasore.

Tatien Sibomana, spokesperson for Uprona not recognized by the Ministry of Home Affairs says the party has an ideal which disturbs some leaders who want to cause division among party members. “This is the major challenge that the current governing leaders have always been faced with,” he says adding that there are enemies of Uprona who don’t want to promote the ideology of Prince Rwagasore.

Sibomana says Uprona is the victim of the 2015 crisis which prevents it from defending the Arusha Agreement despite the 2009 reconciliation, the reason why the party is currently divided into two parts: pro-government and opposition.

He also says the current leaders want to protect their positions instead of promoting the reconciliation among the party followers.