CNARED on the verge of breaking off

There is an imminent coup to remove the presidency of the opposition platform in exile. It must either toe the line or leave.

A coup would be in preparation on CNARED, the platform of Burundian opponents in exile. The radical bloc would be threatening to overthrow the presidency of CNARED by Sunday, July 8, 2018.

Two groups were formed following the crisis within CNARED

Two groups were formed following the crisis within CNARED

According to the sources within the radical side, the group led by Alexis Sinduhije and Jérémie Minani would like to bring some change in the fight which opposes the platform to CNDD-FDD ruling party. It would be a matter of compelling Bujumbura to inclusive negotiations without conditions under the auspices of the East African Community. This group does not exclude the option of an armed fight if the regime of president Nkurunziza does not accept this. “We are preparing for this,” said a member of the group on condition of anonymity.

The other group of the president of the platform, Jean Minani, is accused of seeking to remain in power and continuing negotiations with Bujumbura. “A group essentially formed by tired “old wolves” that yearn for tranquility,” sources from within the platform say. The names of the former Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye and Onésime Nduwimana, one of the former top leaders of CNDD-FDD party, among others, come first.

They would be negotiating behind closed doors their return from exile and some positions in the government. “A bit like Alice Nzomukunda,” said scornfully a member of the CNARED executive board.
Negotiations would be advanced.

But for the “radical” group, there is no question of returning to Bujumbura with their tails between their legs as if they have been defeated. This would symbolize the end of the crisis and therefore the end of pressure from the international community. “We are not going to give this gift to Bujumbura. Our struggle goes beyond our personal comfort, “says a senior coalition member.

Tensions dating from long ago

For now, the block of “coup plotters” tries to convince the followers of president of the platform, to isolate him and take power and then derail his negotiations with Bujumbura.

Internal struggles have been observed since the beginning of Jean Minani’s takeover at the head of the opposition platform. His decisions are challenged by coalition leaders. One of them is the meeting between the leaders of the platform with those of the internal opposition, in Nairobi from 26 to 27 January. The objective of the meeting was to block the constitutional referendum.

9 influential members of CNARED had criticized this meeting. “Seeing the rashness and retention of information that surrounded the activity, we wonder about the motives behind this attitude. They said they were worried about how Jean Minani would run the platform and said there was an ongoing need to address the deep crisis in the coalition.

The recent meeting of May 25-27 exacerbated the already existing tensions and led to the division of the coalition into two groups.


Philippe Nzobonariba: “Let wolves eat each other.”

Philippe NzobonaribaFor the Burundian government, these quarrels are a golden opportunity. Indeed, CNARED is a terrorist organization composed of wanted people. Philippe Nzobonariba, Secretary General of Burundi government says the latter will not be distracted by the quarrels that are observed within this organization. “Let the wolves eat each other. For him, this coalition is crumbling and the question to be asked to those who host and finance them is how long they will continue to support them.

Sylvestre Ntibantunganya: “Avoid rigid stances”

Sylvestre NtibantunganyaThe former President of the Republic believes that the dissensions within CNARED come mainly from divergent interests of members of the platform. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, as a sage, advises those who want to be engaged in politics to avoid rigid stances and be flexible especially when the interest of the nation is at stake. “Burundians were not created to live in the specter of violence. He asks those who help Burundians to find a solution to the crisis to cooperate more with those who seek the interest of the nation.



Analysis by Agnes Ndirubusa


As the 2020 elections are fast approaching, the urgency may be in the need to reach an agreement and work as a stronger opposition. In short, an opposition that could embody an alternative to the party in power.

At this point, with the formation of the two groups within the same platform, we are far from this essential unit that would be able to oppose the ruling CNDD-FDD. This union, which analysts were already referring to as “unnatural”, is likely to shatter. As a reminder, personalities with totally different ideas came together. Their relationship was based primarily on animosity towards President Nkurunziza “who ran for a third term and violated the Arusha Agreement. A foundation that is difficult to maintain in the long run.

The other challenge that the coalition failed to address is this war of egos. Almost all these personalities have marked the history of the country. Everyone wants to impose his vision.

In addition, the question many observers ask themselves is how, today, the armed option would be perceived by Burundians. For what cause would Burundians still be ready to sacrifice themselves? In 2015, the coalition was against the candidacy of President Nkurunziza. A few weeks ago, he decided not to run for another term in 2020.

There may still be respect for the Arusha Accord. Would that be a sufficient argument to convince Burundians tired of repetitive crises and grinding poverty?

What is certain is that the imbroglios which reign within CNARED platform begin to get boring…

Written by Agnès Ndirubusa and translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana