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Burundi’s Prince Louis Rwagasore Assassinated 60 Years Ago

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In 1961, precisely on October 13, the then prime minister, Louis Rwagasore, was assassinated at the sidewalk restaurant of the local Hotel Tanganyika. One shot proved to be enough to kill him on the spot.

Burundi was to become independent but at the time of the murder the date had not been set yet.

Eventually, Burundi became independent eight and a half months later, on July 1, 1962.

September 18, 1961, parliamentary elections had been held and Rwagasore’s party, Uprona, had won a landslide victory, his party taking 58 of the 64 seats.

September 28, Rwagasore was installed by Parliament as the prime minister, 16 days before he was murdered.

Rwagasore’s victory was a surprise for the Belgian administration. Considering him a nuisance they had done everything in their power to prevent him from engaging in political life.

Rwagasore, the son of the local mwami, king Mwambutsa, who was to become head of state once Burundi became independent, was put under house arrest at a certain point and told to refrain from political activities.

Belgium clearly opted for the local Christian Democrats as the rulers of the country, considering them to be more lenient politicians, while Rwagasore was thought to be influenced by radical political ideas such as those adopted by Congo’s first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba.

This Wednesday October 13, 2021, several celebration events were held across the country in memory of this important cultural and political figure.

In the town hall of Bujumbura, the ceremonies began with a mass in his memory at the Regina Mundi Cathedral and were enhanced by the presence of President Evariste Ndayishimiye in the company of his wife and other government officials.

According to Father Félix Fupi the Priest of the Parish Cathedral Regina Mundi, there are no longer courageous and free-spirited men capable of doing good, of speaking the truth and of assuming it.

He took this opportunity to urge the country’s authorities to show humility, to have the courage to speak out against evil, to recognize and accept the good achievements of others even if they do not share their ideas. He called on the Burundians to perpetuate the legacy of Prince Louis Rwagasore to build a peaceful country.

Father Félix Fupi reminded the Christians present that the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the assassination of the hero of the independence of Burundi is an opportunity offered to them to examine their conscience in order to see if their actions turn out to be honest and are according to God’s will instead of shutting himself in and accusing others of wickedness or doing wrong.

“We are called to live with honesty in the image of Prince Louis Rwagasore, denounce evil and praise the merits of others,” he said.

He pointed out that there are some people in Burundi who cannot positively appreciate the achievements of others.

He asked them to have the spirit and the courage to characterise it as it is, saying this is an important step towards fair justice.

“Avoid bad advisers who only clap even though they are convinced they are endangering you. People like this are to be feared because they can endanger the life of an entire nation,” he said.

President Ndayishimiye and his wife first laid a wreath at the Mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore at Mount Vugizo in the town hall of Bujumbura.

After the presidential couple, it was the turn of the diplomatic corps which laid a wreath of flowers on the tomb of the hero of independence, Prince Louis Rwagasore.

The biological members of the family of Prince Louis Rwagasore were then invited to lay a wreath at the Mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore, followed lastly by the laying of wreaths by representatives of the political parties approved in Burundi.

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Politics

What Does ‘Father of the Nation’ Mean Under Republican State?

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In simplified and user-friendly terms, the analogy father-of-the-nation is used to refer to a person considered the driving force behind the establishment of a country, state, or nation.

For other and most common situations, father-of-the-nation is the architect of independence – all these are the explanations one may quickly find through google.

In neighbouring Burundi which became a republic after claiming independence on 1 July 1962, there is a very tense debate on whether the President should be confered upon this honorific title of Father-of-the-nation.

In his perspective, Guibert Mbonimpa, the Editorial secretary and political analyst at Groupe de Presse Iwacu, argues that in his country Burundi, the title of Father-of-the-nation is only reserved for the King and not the President who presides over a Republic state.

Referring to his article titled; “Father of the Nation”, The Republican imposture”, Mbonimpa arguments trigger tense debate.

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their real names,” said Confucius-a Chinese philosopher and politician.

“Regarding the fight against the Covid-19, the novelty is that there are vaccines that will reach us soon. We are therefore telling the population that we are acting in accordance with the objective set by the Father of the Nation,” announced the Minister of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, during a press conference he held on October 12.

Another occurrence of this word fraud. After the magistrates have received a volley of green wood, the title of “Father of the Nation” is summoned to dispel any doubt about the benevolent intentions of the tenant of Ntare House.

“As a true Father of the Nation and Supreme Magistrate, he never ceases to reiterate his desire to battle against any form of injustice so that each citizen can fully enjoy their rights,” we can read in the press release of September 15 signed by Evelyne Butoyi, spokesperson for the President of the Republic.

In the political system in force in Burundi, the President of the Republic is elected by direct universal suffrage.

A majority of citizens delegate to him the supreme task of coordinating the management of his country during a mandate of 7 years. A service for which the first of the citizens receives a comfortable salary, honours and privileges.

The designation of “Father of the Nation” (Sebarundi in the national language) assumes that the person of the head of state is not the subject of a choice.

Therefore, the “Father of the Nation” is none other than the Mwami (king of Burundi). He was born Mwami and was only designated as such by a small, authorized group, Abanyamabanga (special advisers).

The political storytelling of Reta Mvyeyi, Reta Nkozi (the responsible and laborious state) is an institutional transposition of this republican imposture which turns a blind eye to the eagle’s talons around power. By treating adults like children, they end up behaving like children.

These new concepts of governance Reta mvyeyi, Reta nkozi, are, moreover, a screen against any form of dissent. Apart from a renegade, a traitor, one does not oppose the father guided by the sole common interest of “his children”.

We are adding our stone to the edifice. As part of a workshop with several political parties, Friday August 20, the Minister of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security invited political parties, including opposition, to contribute in the implementation of a national development strategy PND 2018-2027.

This new step taken in paternalism, mother of infantilism, perpetuates this mentality of assisted people.

President Ndayishimiye comes to practice micro-management – relayed on social networks for an amplifying effect – inappropriate for the governance of a state: he punishes, he moralizes and he forgives… like a true father.

Will the Burundians be reduced to just saying “thank you father”?

Republic of Uganda

In 2017, President Yoweri Museveni the ninth and current President of Uganda since 1986 told a big gathering that nobody hired him to manage Uganda and therefore nobody should pressure him over anything.

“I’m not working for other people, I’m working for my grandchildren, for my children,” said President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders has been in power for over three decades. He was addressing party faithful on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of his coming to power.

‘‘I hear some people saying that I am their servant, I am not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter, that is what I do. I don’t do it because I am your servant, I’m not your servant. I am just a freedom fighter, I am fighting for myself or my beliefs. That’s how I come in, I’m not an employee,” a seemingly stressed Museveni said then.

‘‘If anybody thinks he gave me a job, he is deceiving himself. I am just a freedom fighter whom you thought could help you also,” he stated.

Museveni indeed didn’t not joke about his words, he recently appointed his son Major-General Muhoozi Kainerugaba to commander of the UPDF land forces.

The son has also previously held bigger slots including the position of Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations.

His wife, The First Lady Janet Museveni also serves as Minister of Education since her husband started his fifth term in office in 2016. She has also held bigger portfolios in Museveni’s government.

Despite Museveni rejecting the servant of the people suit, Ugandans refer to him as father of the nation.

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Politics

Country’s May Go To War Over Dispute On Climate Change- Report

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Global political orientation after 2030 is expected to significantly be affected by debate over climate change and related disputes.

Findings contained in a new ‘Report on The Impact Of Climate Change’ by White House has indicated After 2030, key countries will face growing risks of instability and need for humanitarian assistance.

The document makes three key judgments. Global tensions will rise as countries argue about how to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; climate change will exacerbate cross-border flash points and amplify strategic competition in the Arctic; and the effects of climate change will be felt most acutely in developing countries that are least equipped to adapt.

The report, the first such document to look exclusively at the issue of climate, said that risks to American national security will grow in the years to come.

Relationship between Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict 

Extreme weather events and conflict are the top two drivers of forced displacement globally, together responsible for the annual movement of nearly 30 million people from their homes.

There is a strong correlation between countries and regions most vulnerable to climate change and those that are fragile and/or experiencing conflict or violence.

Climate-related impacts may further stress vulnerable communities, increasing the risk of conflict and displacement in the absence of effective prevention efforts, and vice versa.

Climate-related impacts also pose an increased risk to marginalized communities displaced by conflict related to the impacts of climate change.

This risk is more acute in regions with weak governance and dispute resolution infrastructure, and in growing peri-urban areas where many migrants are heading.

Climate change can cause or exacerbate resource scarcity, which may drive conflict directly as well as induce migration of populations in vulnerable situations attempting to secure safety or livelihoods elsewhere.

Moreover, changes to biodiversity have strong intersections with climate change that also can affect migration, and threaten food and economic security.

The subsequent movement of large numbers of people, by force or by choice, brings new groups into contact with one another, potentially shifting power balances, causing further resource scarcity, or igniting tensions between previously separated groups.

Where climate-related migrations occur within or near population centers, or in locations important for political or economic stability, such as within many nations’ coastal zones, the destabilizing forces associated with climate change may result in outsized affects overall.

Climate-related migration may induce political instability in several ways. Large migration flows are frequently framed as a threat to both domestic and international stability and social cohesion.

Inadequate policy frameworks to manage large migration flows may exacerbate resource inequalities, stress public budgets, and contribute to xenophobia that increases political tensions.

Anti-immigration political actors may seize on both real and perceived challenges of uncontrolled or large migration flows to improve political standing, inflaming existing tensions and undermining efforts to appropriately respond to acute migration or refugee crises, such as those caused by the Syrian civil war.

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Politics

What Will National Transitional Council of Mamadi Doumbouya Look Like?

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A month and a half after taking power, the transitional president began to choose the members of his government. In contrast, the legislative body is far from being established.

The Guinean political class is at an impasse; “We are waiting for providence,” quips an executive from a major party.

In this case, it hopes above all for the clarification by the junta in power, led by Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, of the criteria for choosing future members of the National Transitional Council (CNT).

According to the charter released at the end of September, the legislative body of the transition will have 81 seats, of which only 15 will be allocated to representatives of political parties.

While no one knows for the moment what will be the mode of designation of the members of the CNT, all are therefore uncertain about the criteria which should prevail.

The biggest political parties are pushing for quotas based on the political weight of each of them in the last polls, which would benefit them.

On the contrary, small parties, whose voters “don’t even fill a phone booth”, according to a Guinean joke, argue “that one party is equal to another”.

Role of Military

According to Kabinet Fofana, a political scientist, the junta leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya is developing a rupturous discourse that resonates with the public and at the same time evokes a certain inclusiveness.

“We can see that he wants to reassure everyone, but this transition government raises the question of what kind of role the army can play in public life,” says Kabinet.

“Can the army play the role of watchdog for democracy, orthodoxy and governance? Can it be this transition government’s compass and watchdog?”

Very quickly, after the 5 September coup, the army seemed to rally behind Doumbouya.

As early as 7 September, this support was made official at a meeting that was organised between the CNRD and the military at Camp Almamy Samory Touré, which is also the headquarters of the ministry of defence and the army staff.

“The military has mourned the president,” says a former member of the government team; and they have lined up behind Doumbouya, who is now preparing to appoint the prime minister and the government as well as the CNT’s 81 national councillors.

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