Cibitoke: Imbonerakure demand forced contributions for the week dedicated to war veterans

Cibitoke: Imbonerakure demand forced contributions for the week dedicated to war veterans

Imbonerakure (members of the youth league of the CNDD-FDD party) request a compulsory contribution to the inhabitants of the communes of the province of Cibitoke (north-west of Burundi) for the week dedicated to the war veterans amid concerns among the population concerning fundraising tied harassment and intimidation. The secretary of the presidential party in Cibitoke announces that investigations are underway to flush out the people who extort the population. In November, the former Hutu rebel movement organizes a week dedicated to its fighters. An event decried by former soldiers and rebels from other armed movements. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The members of the youth league of the presidential party through the six communes of the province of Cibitoke go around the villages of the area collecting money from the inhabitants in order to prepare for the celebration of the week dedicated to the combatant which begins the November 16 each year.

“Contributions are required from everyone, members and non-CNDD-FDD party sympathizers,” according to various sources.

This doesn’t please the population who urges that these contributions be requested only from members of the ruling party and on a voluntary basis.

“For traders who have shops and kiosks as well as motorcycle taxi drivers and public transport bus drivers, the sums collected vary and are between 10 thousand and 30 thousand. What is serious is that this money is collected in total opacity because no supporting document is given in exchange for the money collected”, indicates a member of the presidential party.

A taxi-motorcycle rider so furious.

“What is very shocking is the fact that the amounts collected are not proportional to the income of each citizen”.

According to various sources contacted on site, political affinities play a determining role in the volume of amounts to be given. Those close to the ruling party are asked modest sums compared to members of the opposition.

Residents interviewed demand the suspension of the forced contributions.

“They are making things worse in a province where most families can no longer feed their children.”

Imbonerakure are threatening traders to remove them from the stands they occupy in the markets.

Contacted the provincial secretary of the CNDD-FDD admits that his party is in the process of organizing the week of the combatant which requires financial means. He denies any mandatory contribution requirement.

“Contributions are voluntary”.

The week dedicated to the former fighter will be closed for this year on November 19th. The ceremony will take place in the commune and province of Ruyigi (east). This week, an event decried by former combatants from various Hutu rebel groups who fought the then Tutsi-dominated Burundian army for more than a decade after the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, the first democratically Hutu president elected in 1993, begins each year on November 16. This is the date on which the CNDD-FDD signed a ceasefire with the government of 2003.

The other non-CNDD-FDD veterans speak of “an event that excludes us”. They believe that the ceremony should be organized by the ministry in charge of veterans to “take on an inclusive character”.

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