Burundi: authorities say they don’t need dollars but prevent a women’s conference from being held to keep them

Burundi: authorities say they don’t need dollars but prevent a women’s conference from being held to keep them

This Sunday an international conference of Christian women should end in the commercial city Bujumbura. But it did not take place, with the Burundian authorities explaining that the organizers were going to “grab the rare dollars we have”. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The conference was due to kick off on Friday. One day before, the Burundian minister for internal affairs and security announced his suspension citing “abusive use”.

Late Friday afternoon, Martin Niteretse clarified the reasons behind his decision.

“[…], When we gave them permission, they started to collect money which was used to organize a gala dinner, …we realized that our permission allowed them to collect this money. Each person should contribute 50 dollars or 200 thousand Burundian francs. We see they used this authorization to grab the few dollars we have or even collect large amounts in Burundian francs to change them (in dollars),” he said from Kabezi in Bujumbura province in western Burundi during a press briefing.

Mr. Niteretse speaks of “cunning”. According to him, “Burundi love the Lord and can contribute beyond their means to the point of selling all their possessions when it comes to supporting divine actions.”

“If they were not ill-intentioned, they would have told us about this money collection. This is why we suspended this activity. They had already collected certain amounts because we were alerted by some people after noticing that on Facebook,” he continued.

According to the minister for internal affairs and security, foreigners who come to Burundi take the citizens of this country from “credulous” and “can seize everything that belongs to us.”

Martin Niteretse specifies that the Burundian authorities cannot in any way allow money to be collected for events organized by religious denominations, in a country where even the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD, organizes crusades and uses them to collect food and money, according to our testimonies.


Minister Niteretse says “we want to keep the few dollars we have.”

But in several speeches and at different times, President Évariste Ndayishimiye and the President of the National Assembly Daniel Gélase Ndabirabe, affirmed that “we do not need dollars because Burundians use the Burundian franc to trade on the local market.

The event, “Connect Africa Conference 2023”, which should attract at least 4,000 participants, according to organizers, was attended by 5,000 others last August in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Among them, the first lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame.

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