Burundi: IDHB notes a precarious lull and a fierce struggle at the top of the regime

Burundi: IDHB notes a precarious lull and a fierce struggle at the top of the regime

The Initiative for Human Rights in Burundi, IDHB, has released its annual report describing a fierce struggle at the top of the Burundian administration which seems to hide a lull and a desire to perpetuate an unspeakable violation of human rights. The organisation’s researchers finds that now is not the time to bury the hatchet in Burundi. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

IDHB is concerned about dramatic political changes in Burundi late in 2022.

“President Évariste Ndayishimiye demonstrated his strength and did what had been unthinkable, deposing the once very powerful Prime Minister, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni. This impeachment may have succeeded in realigning the balance of power in favor of President Ndayishimiye, but this new dynamic could be temporary,” the report finds.

At the same time, according to the IDHB report, “Révérien Ndikuriyo, secretary general of the CNDD-FDD and an influential member of the hardliners, continues to display his allegiance to former president Pierre Nkurunziza, indirectly defying President Ndayishimiye and undermining the reforms he has promised”.


“In 2022, Ndikuriyo organized ‘patriotic’ trainings for thousands of Imbonerakure and delivered fiery speeches during some closing ceremonies. He also conducted separate training for more than 200 Imbonerakure in Makamba province, with the aim of sending them to work in the private security sector abroad, apparently in the Middle East”, the researchers associated with the IDHB says.

2025 and 2027 at the center…

Despite its internal splits, the CNDD-FDD seems united on one thing, the IDHB suggests.

“His desire to win the legislative elections in 2025 and the presidential elections in 2027 at all costs. Ndikuriyo told Imbonerakure that they had to recruit members of opposition parties to join CNDD-FDD by 2023. After that, he said, the CNDD-FDD would take the next step and it would no longer be possible for them to join. Imbonerakure have threatened their political opponents with physical damage or even death if they refuse to join the CNDD-FDD”, accuses the document.

An unsettled calm…

In terms of human rights, 2022 is less bloody.

“The year saw a decrease in political assassinations and enforced disappearances of real or perceived opponents of the government. The number of cases of torture at the hands of intelligence and police officers reported in 2022 was also lower than in previous years, although it is difficult to establish the true extent of these hidden practices”, mentions the ‘IDHB.

In the provinces, members of the ruling party youth league, the Imbonerakure, showed more restraint than in previous years in their behavior towards their rivals from the main opposition party, the CNL, rejoices the initiative.

However, it documented cases in which Imbonerakure seriously injured CNL members.

“Imbonerakure and other members of the ruling party frequently threatened and intimidated members of opposition parties and tried to force them to join the ruling party, some members of opposition parties ended up joining the CNDD-FDD to protect themselves and their livelihoods. In several provinces, local authorities prevented the CNL from holding meetings,” the report reads.

Among several factors that could explain the relative calm, the HDBI found elements external to the ruling party.

“The CNL, although still active across the country, seems to have lost some of its momentum. Its leader, Agathon Rwasa, adopted a lower profile than in previous years and issued only occasional and moderate criticism of the government’s handling of the economic crisis or its internal unrest” the researchers suggest.

“The superficial calm observed in many parts of the country may offer temporary respite, but Burundians know that it would not take much for serious human rights violations to resume,” says IDHB.


Rather, the IDHB reveals an impunity that continues to characterize the Imbonerakure.

“Vague and unfounded suspicions of being a member of the opposition can lead to serious harm. Members of opposition parties have faced this type of abuse for years and the perpetrators enjoy almost total impunity,” the report said.

Despite President Ndayishimiye’s promises, the excessive powers of the Imbonerakure have not been reduced uniformly across the country.

“They continue to patrol the streets at night, sometimes dressed in military-style uniforms and boots, carrying fake guns, machetes, knives or batons, showing off the Motorola walkie-talkies entrusted to them for security tasks and intercepting people who had stayed out late,” say the IDHB investigators.

“Some Imbonerakure have also continued to use violence, including in non-political matters. Most of these acts of violence were committed at the lower level, some of whom were arrested. But in most political cases, the judicial authorities dare not prosecute them, let alone convict them,” they add.

Government spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye was unavailable to respond to these allegations, as was the head of communication services within the presidential party, Nancy Ninette Mutoni.

In the past, she had told the media that “the Imbonerakure are very exemplary and tolerant”.

For their part, the authorities of the small East African nation continue to explain that “the authors of such reports have no other aim than to tarnish the image of Burundi, the CNDD-FDD and its youth.

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