Guterres irritates Bujumbura

For the UN Secretary General, the draft revision of the Constitution exacerbates tensions. Bujumbura speaks of a violation of sovereignty.

Antonio Guterres worries about the constitutional revision

Antonio Guterres worries about the constitutional revision

The UN Secretary General was very critical of the draft constitutional revision. His report on the situation in Burundi was given to the 15 member states of the Security Council. According to Antonio Guterres, several proposed changes to the Constitution have been questioned by the opposition “as attempts by the ruling party to consolidate its hold, which can create unrest.” He is worried about the possibility of the president to run for office in the next 2020 presidential election. “This may exacerbate tensions with the opposition.”

The secretary general of the United Nations does not exclude the country’s sovereign right to amend the Constitution. However, he indicates that the current process requires a political and security environment that inspires the confidence of all political actors. According to him, such a change must have the widest possible participation and consensus among the key players in political life.

The remarks by Antonio Guterres occur in a context of registration of Burundians for the next elections which began on Thursday, February 8. The constitutional referendum is scheduled for next May. A process far from being unanimous. The voices are still rising to dispute the appropriateness of this revision of the Constitution. The last release is that of the internal opposition and CNARED, the coalition of the opposition in exile. They all converged on a process that carries all the dangers.’


Agathon-Rwasa-600x437Agathon Rwasa: “The content of the report by Guterres is founded”

The first Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly finds the content of Antonio Guterres’ report founded. According to Agathon Rwasa, the arrests without trial of those who are against the constitutional revision will not contradict this report. To this must be added the discriminatory articles contained in the new constitutional project. “The revision of the Constitution should be done in a context of serenity of the Burundian people, but this is not the case.

The government should not take this report as an attack. The Secretary-General has no interest in making the country fall. He wants to help us move forward.

Gaston-Sindimwo-300x264Gaston Sindimwo: “It’s regrettable”

For the first Deputy President of the Republic, it is regrettable that such a high authority as Antonio Guterres does not have an overall vision and speaks a language of “an opponent. For Gaston Sindimwo, the revision of the Constitution is a question of national sovereignty. For a constructive divergence, he said that if Burundians voted against the proposed amendment of the Constitution, the government would draw necessary conclusions.

Pacifique Nininahazwe 1Pacifique Nininahazwe: “It will not be a Constitution of Burundians.”

According to the activist, the draft revision of the Constitution is the most serious threat to national unity. From the outset, says Pacifique Nininahazwe, the new Constitution would appear as that of a man, President Nkurunziza, rather than that of a nation. The quasi-secret approach of the Council of Ministers, the absence of a debate, the political context of crisis and the threats to the opponents of the revision clearly indicate that it will not be a Constitution of Burundians. “Worse is the willingness to reduce the political and ethnic balance that resulted from the Arusha Agreement that risks putting the country back into ethnic tensions. He calls on the international guarantors of the Arusha Accord to react before it’s too late.

Pierre-Claver-Kazihise-300x235Pierre Claver Kazihise: The people have the right to decide on their destiny

For the SOCIC -civic civil society coordinator, Mr. Guterres fell into the trap of a false report. According to Pierre Claver Kazihise, he was wrong. He referred to the speech of a number of actors who refuse to recognize the sovereignty of the people. “We invite him to come to his sense and accept to listen to the people who have the right to decide on their destiny. For Kazihise, it is through the ballot box that the debate on the revision of the Constitution can be decided on.


The red light flashes dangerously, according to the UN boss. The draft revision of the Constitution is perceived by the international community and the Burundian opposition as untimely and carrying all the dangers.

Many see a path cleared by President Pierre Nkurunziza that will allow him to stay in the presidential palace for years to come.

In addition, this project may not pass through even within the political class of the president. Some aspire to come to the throne according to the president if one takes into account the scathing remarks made during the ceremonies of commemoration of war veterans. He mentioned members of his own party ready for “treason.”

The boss of the UN fears that amendment to the Constitution in a context of lack of consultation is inauspicious. The page of the recent crisis of 2015, stemming from the protest against one more term of President Pierre Nkurunziza is not yet turned. “What will happen to Burundi if he decides to stand as president for the 2020 elections again? An analyst wonders.

The international community, which does not respect national sovereignty, has only to go elsewhere. If it does not want to support the elections, that’s fine. The population will ‘voluntarily contribute’ to the next elections. For Burundians who want to sabotage the project, we see them, states the power in place. It learned the lessons of 2015 and will not tolerate any overflow. And the one who whispers in Guterres’ ear should not rest easy after his boss leaves. Michel Kafando must now know that he has crossed the red line. And like his predecessors, he risks being banned.

It remains to be seen whether the Security Council will adhere to Guterres’ rhetoric. ‘Burundi friends’ have often been careful to calm the ardor of the office of the Secretary General.