Burundi: leaders selling chimeras when talking about agriculture

Burundi: leaders selling chimeras when talking about agriculture

The ruling party has failed miserably in agricultural policy. The dignitaries are models in agricultural projects, all, or almost as they invest and want to grab everything in all areas. Some wonder how the country is run by people who spend all their time in such expensive state vehicles, bought at the expense of the poor taxpayer, arguing that they will cultivate, weed and harvest. But for the peasant, the traditional producer, nothing is reserved, not even in thought. SOS Médias Burundi (Opinion)

By Mahoro

“Imbere ni heza (the future is bright). Burundi is the richest country in the world, blessed…”, we heard since the eagle party took power. Since the first government of the late Nkurunziza, a government that he changed at the same pace as he turned the pages of the Bible that he leafed through until he paraphrased it until he included his own name (Nkurunziza), instead of “Moses “, one day in one of his crusades, he who never stopped brandishing “prayer” as the only source of salvation for Burundi.
Moreover, he said he came as a messiah, but the reality was quite different during all his three terms. His heir (Samuragwa), wanting to prove himself worthy of this status, does no less. He talks about prayer and agriculture, claiming that Burundians cultivate and harvest a lot.
However, famine has never ceased to strike the average Burundian, while lords get rich and brew billions of which they ostensibly and daily display the signs.

Model in agriculture, really?

The late Pierre Nkurunziza had fields of different crops all over the country. He presented himself as a model in agriculture.
His successor does the same, not to mention the other dignitaries. What is chilling is that many officials from different institutions travel with their leader to cheer and/or celebrate what looks like a sowing festival.

Who can assess the cost of these trips (mission expenses, fuel, depreciation of vehicles driving on bad roads)? National television and other media (whose status is questionable) will follow to sing the praise of this or that leader. I let you imagine what the weekend news looks like on these media, in this case the national TV.

Where do these lands come from? Are the Burundian presidents native of all the provinces, to have properties there? Even if that were so, they would not have such vast grounds. Moreover, the two come from provinces too overpopulated to claim all these lands. How did they acquire these lands? How much do they buy them, if so? How much does this population earn who takes care of these fields, without forgetting those who waste their time to go and listen to these empty speeches, without interest for the poor peasant left to his own fate?

Agriculture, my eye!

Showing the whole world a few tons of potatoes, the president or these dignitaries have the opportunity to recite the same litany: “the harvest is good in Burundi, everyone eats their fill, shame on those who stay in Bujumbura without cultivating…”
Alas! People, some of whom are fainting from hunger, applaud. But, do they really cultivate? Over what extent? Let’s leave these unfortunates who come there by force, but let’s come back to the current president who calls himself a model farmer. What is the capital he needs to have these fields? Where do these cows he raises come from? Everywhere, there is competition to offer him cows, as it was done for the late Peter.
Who doesn’t know that the province of Karusi gave almost 10 cows to Neva in one day, not to mention dozens of baskets full of food? As a thank you, he appointed permanent secretary of the ministry in charge of internal affairs the woman who was then governor of this province. A departure that the population obviously did not regret, the latter blaming many vices on the lady.

Who’s fooling who?

The president or any other dignitary may in no way be a model in agriculture, livestock or any other income-generating activity. The Burundian Constitution is clear on this point. He is housed, fed and paid at the end of the month. Without forgetting stuffed slush funds, including the famous support for good initiatives. And we often hear: “The president has donated construction equipment, a sum of one billion…”, while the money comes from this fund provided for in the national budget. This is what we cheer.

If another inhabitant of Bujumbura has to cultivate in the interior of the country, there is a huge amount of capital that would be required of him. Starting with the trip costs to arrive on the ground, the purchase or rental of the land, the means to cultivate until the harvest, the conservation and the sale. Even if it is even just one hectare, it is not within everyone’s reach.

Imagine these populations with empty stomac and in rags in front of these pot-bellied lords who will put them to sleep with speeches as hollow as the policy of promoting agriculture!

For them, taking the time to focus in the office to make plans in their respective fields feels like torture. And we are surprised that the donors give nothing, while the country is too badly managed, without clear plans, with corruption that plagues all levels of management.

If Neva and others could feel the pain of a father who comes home with empty pockets in the evening, while his children have an empty stomach, and the unhappiness felt by a father or a mother who leaves the house in the morning without hope of getting enough to feed the children, they would shut it up.

Failure upon failure

Let us also accept that the CDD-FDD system has not succeeded in agricultural policy (if there was any) neither today nor yesterday. We prefer instead to steal the little that the ordinary people have had thanks to the FOMI fertilizer factory since 2018. They collect corn at ridiculous prices to resell it for double or let it rot in the warehouses, drive out the partners in the fields of coffee, rice, etc.

Remember these billions diverted with the famous avocado trees under Pierre Nkurunziza, the irrigation which fails, these unexploited valleys and hills, the recurring famine in Kirundo and throughout the country. There are no results to brandish in front of all this population which, however, cheers.

Dear rich but too poor dignitaries, stop lying to Burundians. Tomorrow the average Burundian will end up discovering you and you will end up paying the price for your arrogance. The grave you are digging for your system is so deep that all you have to do is rush into it.

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