When Imbonerakure reaffirm their support

The youth affiliated to the ruling party Cndd-Fdd organized what they called the Imbonerakure Day. It was opportunity to reaffirm their attachment to President Pierre Nkurunziza. The opposition speaks of manipulation.

Written by Agnès Ndirubusa and translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

Show of force by the Imbonerakure last Saturday in Gitega central province.

Show of force by the Imbonerakure last Saturday in Gitega central province.

More than 8 thousand Imbonerakure (youth wing of the ruling party Cndd-Fdd) took to the streets of Gitega central province on Saturday 19 August. This is at least an estimate made by the party. They paaralyzed the small town as they walked chanting slogans, reminding anyone who wants to hear that they reign supreme.
An event that coincided exactly with the anniversary of two years after the 2015 election that led to the inauguration of President Pierre Nkurunziza who narrowly escaped a putsch. The term was deemed illegal and illegitimate by the opposition.
Two years later, it is celebrated. It was a good opportunity for the Imbonerakure to reaffirm their support to their master. They were able to offer him a sculpture with a message that is significant. “Hangama ku ngoma” meaning “stay in power forever.”

In any case, this meeting had been cleverly orchestrated. A massive advertising campaign had invaded the media as well as social networks. “Imbonerakure Day and these distinguished guests”. Even a foreign delegation from several countries such as Turkey, Chad, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Sudan and South Sudan joined them.
President Pierre Nkurunziza was delighted that this foreign delegation had joined the Imbonerakure of Burundi.

The ruling party’s secretary-general, Evariste Ndayishimiye said he was proud of the youth attachment to the republican values.
Speaking of values, the international community has a different opinion of the Imbonerakure. They call them a militia, what Cndd-Fdd has always rejected, speaking rather of patriotic and peaceful young people. The ruling party promises to stage other shows of force every year to the rhythm of the eagle.



Domitien Ndayizeye: “Unless this party has nothing to propose to the youth.”
Domitien-Ndayizeye-600x483For the former President of the Republic, such rallies prove that Cndd-Fdd has an erroneous conception of democracy. According to him, this party should be more respectful of human rights and grant more freedoms to others. “The country is running towards a party-state, which is a pity. “Domitien Ndayizeye also says calling youth to take to the streets is a waste of time. Rather, they should be used to develop the country. “Unless this party has nothing to offer to them.”

Abel Gashatsi: “Cndd-Fdd is in its right”

Abel-Gashatsi-2-600x519The chairman of Uprona party says Cndd-Fdd has the right to organize these rallies “provided this is done peacefully and that no threat or other hurtful words are uttered.” “He says his party also plans to stage a show of strength of the revolutionary youth of Rwagasore-JRR.  “Hopefully, we will get the same favor as the Imbonerakure.”



Gilbert Bécaud Njangwa: “This is the strength of Cndd-Fdd “

Njangwa-600x546The human rights activist sees in the Imbonerakure Day the strength of Cndd-Fdd party. According to Gilbert Bécaud Njangwa, organizing a rally is not a problem. It is a right of every political party. The rule of law must respect this freedom and open political space.




Faustin Ndikumana: “They are manipulating young people”

Faustin-Ndikumana-2-600x450The chairman of PARCEM, a local NGO that advocates for the change of mentality, speaks of a political class short of vision. “They do not have a concrete solution to the many challenges facing young people. As compensation, they use them. “Faustin Ndikumana speaks of a way to prevent young people from seeing the dangerous posture of the country. He concludes saying that “such acts are more likely to spark violence in the interests of a group, rather than that of the country.”



Imbonerakure Day, what else?

Rebuilding the image of the Imbonerakure, long tarnished is the objective of the ruling party. The label of veterans of the Cndd-Fdd rebellion doesn’t leave them. They are often associated with words such as torture and terror towards the population.
A sort of parallel police force that lays down the law in the country, according to organizations that advocate for human rights. Some UN reports have gone so far as to call them militia. A cliché that must be erased from the spirit of the international community at all costs, so that the Imbonerakure  would be presented as the most ordinary youth.
The delegation from abroad also participated in the rally. The young people were called to back the party of the eagle (Cndd-Fdd) in its campaign to ‘humanize’ the image of its youth. “Members of the foreign delegation were able to see themselves that the Imbonerakure are like them. They will be our ambassadors abroad,” said one of the party leaders. A message that Cndd-Fdd will not fail to capitalize.
The party has also said it is not isolated.

“Burundi has friends, notwithstanding the Westerners who have frozen aid to the Burundian government.”
The Imbonerakure Day is also the image of President Nkurunziza receiving this sculpture with a specific appeal to the president to stay long in power. The party is already preparing for the elections. The allegiance of these young people gives an idea of who they want to see at the presidential palace in 2020. It is a stimulation of presidential appetites of the chief executive and an opportunity to dampen the ambitions of other Bagumyabanga-members of the ruling party Cndd-Fdd.

In any case, a part of the population glances at these young people who take to the streets every weekend, out of the corner of their eyes. Rallies of this kind are becoming many, according to some other people. Others find them amusing. “Why do they hold rallies this time? What happened?”
Walking or running is good for health. Nonetheless, Burundian youth face several other challenges, including unemployment. 6 out of 10 young people are unemployed. They need jobs, investors and capital to get started.