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Burundi President Flags Off 5000 Pardoned Prisoners

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A total of 5000 pardoned Prisoners in Burundi have been warned to keep on the right side of the law, integrate back to communities and initiate income-generating activities.

President Evariste Ndayishimiye recently signed a decree pardoning over 5000 inmates serving various sentences- this was subject to the law that grants the head of state a right and power to exercise a prerogative of mercy.

Addressing the recipients of the presidential pardon on Tuesday at Prison de Mpimba, President Ndayishimiye said the state is not there to jail. He explained, a prisoner is a burden on the country, on the family. “A prisoner consumes without producing, the family becomes poorer.”

To justice, to the judicial police officers, President Ndayishimiye recommended that they register all the prisoners as soon as they arrive. “We must prevent a person from going three months without being tried.” Abusive imprisonments without reasons are also to be avoided according to the President of the Republic. A nod also to those who indulge in corruption. ” It’s a shame !”

Insisting on this presidential pardon, President Ndayishimiye said the decision was not taken to please anyone. And to reassure the non-beneficiaries that they too will be able to benefit from it.

Meanwhile, he said those who did not make it to the list when they qualify can make complaints.

President Ndayishimiye noted that impunity has hampered the development of Burundi. According to him, some have trivialized even the crimes of blood. “Even these ethnic conflicts which have brought mourning to our country, it is because there have been people who have said to themselves that it is not a crime if they kill a person of the other ethnic group, as if the killing has become an act of bravery ”.

Jeanine Nibizi, Minister of Justice, said this is a first in Burundi where more than 5,000 prisoners have been pardoned. Among them, breastfeeding women, vulnerable people, prisoners suffering from chronic illnesses, etc.

President Evariste Ndayishimiye hands a certificate of pardon to a beneficiary

The minister also specified that the pardoned prisoners number 1,400 for Mpimba prison. Of these, 944 received effective release and the rest were granted reduced sentences.

She also SAID that Currently Burundi has around 12,000 prisoners while the prison capacity hovers around 4,000.

Reacting to the Presidential pardon,  Independent National Human Rights Commission (CNIDH), the implementation of the presidential pardon is an eloquent sign of the permanent concern on the part of the government.

And this, will unclog prisons with a view to improving conditions of detention. In a statement released on Monday, the committee found that the establishment of Community Service (TIG) proved to be another alternative measure.

The CNIDH also advocates for the reduction of the excessive use of pre-trial detention and for the creation of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture.

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CHOGM 2021 Postponed Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

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Paul Kagame and Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC are expected to officially announce the postponement of CHOGM 2021 as a result of the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

President Kagame said in a statement that having reviewed all available evidence and risk assessments, and after close consultation between the Commonwealth Secretariat and Member States, the decision has been made to postpone the CHOGM in Kigali for a second time. 

The decision to postpone CHOGM for a second time has not been taken lightly, the statement said. 

“The health and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens at this critical time must take precedence. We look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to Kigali for CHOGM at the appropriate time,” Kagame said.

The Cmmonwealth Secretary-General is queues saying that, “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a hugely damaging impact on our member countries, many of whom continue to face huge losses to lives and livelihoods. And while it is with deep disappointment and regret that we cannot bring Commonwealth leaders together at this time to discuss many of these critical issues, we must be mindful of the huge risks large meetings pose to all.

“I want to thank the Government and people of Rwanda for their professionalism, support, patience and their impeccable readiness to hold CHOGM. And I want to thank all our member countries and, in particular, the United Kingdom as our Chair-in-Office and India, who have suffered so grievously in these trying times. I look forward warmly to a time when we can be reunited with the Commonwealth family, face-to-face, in Rwanda when the conditions allow for us to do so safely and securely.”

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Boat Donated By Kagame To Nkombo Islanders Not Operational

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Residents of Nkombo Island will have to wait longer to travel on a boat donated to them by President Paul Kagame.

Nkombo island is located on Lake Kivu in Rusizi district. Residents last saw this boat in October last year when it was officially handed to the district.

According to authorities of Rusizi district, the delay to use this boat is because drivers are still undergoing intensive training until they learn to operate the water vessel.

Currently the boat is docked in Karongi district and will only be available when the drivers have fully completed training.

President Paul Kagame has a special attachment to the people living on Nkombo Island. He donated  the second boat to the islanders on June 29, 2015 while addressing opinion leaders in Rusizi district.

“I am giving you an even bigger vessel, please use it to relate, trade and utilize all the opportunities your district has to offer,” advised Kagame.

In 2010, Kagame donated a passenger boat with a capacity to carry 100 passengers and 40 tons of luggage. The island hosts over 180,000 residents.

For the past regimes, this island was extremely neglected and treated as though it was part of Democratic Republic of Congo formerly Zaire. Previous governments ridiculed and despised Nkombo islanders as backward people and attached them to ‘Bashi’, a Congolese tribe.

With this deep neglect sanctioned by previous regimes, Nkombo islanders invented a language known as ‘Amahavu’ a mixture of two dialects; Congo’s Lingala and Kinyarwanda.

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President Tshisekedi Orders Martial Law Rule In Kivu, Ituri

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President Felix Tshisekedi has ordered rule of martial law in DRCs North Kivu and Ituri provinces effective on Thursday, May 6.

The Congolese President called on the people of the two provinces “to cooperate closely with the military authorities deployed by denouncing enemies of the people and complicity at whatever level” with those perpetrating violence.

The shift in management of this part of the country is aimed at stemming the bloodshed and returning order to the region, the president said in an address on national television Monday.

During the period of martial law, Congo’s security forces will have the right to search homes, seize weapons and prohibit travel, Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Kasongo Mwema Yambab Yamba, said in a separate address.

The military and police authorities will also have the right to ban publications and meetings deemed contrary to public order and to prosecute those suspected of violating the peace, he said.

Eastern Congo with population of 20 million people, borders Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This region hosts at least 120 armed groups

Violence in eastern Congo includes numerous conflicts over control of land and resources, protection of local communities, and rebellions linked to neighboring countries.

Ituri and North Kivu are rich in metals like gold and coltan and armed groups including alleged criminal networks in the army sometimes profit from their trade.

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