Political opponents accuse ruling Cndd-Fdd of children indoctrination to hate

Some opponents accuse Cndd-Fdd of indoctrinating children to hate. The accusations were sparked by a video that was shared on social media showing children chanting and singing what some viewers labelled as hate speech.

 Snapshot from the video showing the little girls and the young man in Cndd-Fdd uniform dancing.

Snapshot from the video showing the little girls and the young man in Cndd-Fdd uniform dancing.

A video showing children affiliated to the ruling Cndd-Fdd party chanting derogatory words against those who are responsible for bloody events that occurred in Burundi after the independence has caused accusations of hate indoctrination by some political opponents.

The video shows young girls in the ruling party uniform chanting and dancing during what appears to be the ceremony of the party. In it, a young man leads the little girls by asking them questions about sad events that happened in Burundi. The girls respond in a way that shows they had rehearsed their replies.

“Have you forgotten our painful past”, asks the young man

“Far from it!”, reply the kids. “We haven’t forgotten (…). We know what happened in Burundi in 1965, 1972 and1988. We also know the infamous crisis of 1993 when the late President Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated and the blood of countless Burundians was shed.”

“[I]Mbonerakure [the ruling party’s youth wing], do you think the perpetrators have abandoned their ways?, asks again the young man?

“Oooh, leopards do not change their spots”, reply the young girls. “Greedy people are always on the lookout.” They then refer to current events: “Some never cease to amaze us. They pretend to be government’ allies helping it to see its shortcomings to redress. But the truth is that they want to exploit us like lice that hide themselves in your trousers to suck your blood!”

The girls then start singing and dancing a song that proselytizes for the ruling party and mock the youth who participated in the protests of 2015 for “a dish of rice”.

“Children indoctrination to hate”

“That’s indoctrinating children to hate under the pretense of teaching them history”, says Léonce Ngendakumana, the Vice-Chairman of the opposition party Frodebu.

He says by being exposed to such discourse, children are being conditioned to be hatemongers, killers and persecutors of others.

“We should all stand up to that indoctrination so the youth are taught to peacefully live with others as they grow”, he says.

He says the teaching of history should be done with the objective of ensuring “what happened won’t happen again.”
Kassim Abdul, the Chairman of the opposition party UPD-Zigamibanga also condemns the video.

He says the law does not allow the underage to be members of political parties. He thinks even Cndd-Fdd party leadership does not approve of what appears in the video. He says the organizers of the event are displaying “excessive zeal”.

He urges the party leadership to investigate into the matter and take disciplinary action against the young man that starts the chants and song in the video.

“What happened in our country happened to everyone regardless of their ethnic, religious or regional background”, says Kassim. “Burundians should advocate for forgiveness and reconciliation instead of hate”, he adds.
He also says the Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be let do its job of finding out the truth about the past of the country.

Those who don’t know their history are bound to relive it

For the Ministry of Home Affairs, what appears in the video is legal. Children are talking about events that really happened but that some people have always sought to hide.

“We have to teach our history to children so they become aware of what happened”, says Thérence Ntahiraja, the Assistant to the Minister of Home Affairs. “At the same time we should teach them that such things should never happen again”, adds Ntahiraja.

“The truth about many events that occurred in our county have not been publicly discussed”, he says. “Let the truth be heard, instead of suppressing it”, he adds.

Ntahiraja notes that “even in the Arusha Peace Agreement, it is stated that the history of Burundi should be revised”. Kassim also makes the same observation.

The video does not show hate indoctrination against any particular ethnic group according to Ntahiraja. “The greedy being talked about is any Hutu, or Tutsi, or Twa who used division or other schemes to arise to power by hurting others”, he says.

He recognizes that it’s “illegal for minors to be members of political parties”. But he says despite the law, children who are born in a family that supports a particular party are by default “members” of the party to some extent. He likens the process to what happens to children born from parents of given religious beliefs.
“What would be really problematic is if children were used to for illegal votes”, he says.

In the years 1965, 1972, 1988, and 1993 talked about in the video are remembered for massacres that occurred between Hutus and Tutsis. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians have been killed in the events. The truth about what really happened is yet to be revealed. The events have been absent from public discourse and history education.