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President Nkurunziza Opens Bank Demanded By Youth After 2015 Coup




Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza on Wednesday launched a Youth Investment Bank (BIJE) worth 10billion of Burundi francs –a demand made by the youth in 2016 after a failed coup and resultant protests.

“The Bank will provide technical assistance intended to facilitate the development of businesses and or cooperatives of young people,” Nkurunziza said at the launch.

According to sources, the shareholders in this bank include; State (15%) and the municipalities (85%, 71 million each) totaling Fbu 10 billion of share capital. The Bank will finance youth cooperatives or associations at an interest rate of 7%.

Nkurunziza cautioned young people not to listen to “malicious people who want to plunge them back into a disastrous situation as was the case in the recent past in 2015.”

On April 25th, 2015, Burundi’s ruling party Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie – Forces pour Defense de la Democratie (CNDD-FDD) announced at a congress that Pierre Nkurunziza would be the party flag bearer in the presidential elections.

Nkurunziza was among 1000 members that attended the party congress and made very seditious statements after prompting massive protests across the country.

Protestors rejected Nkurunziza’s manipulations of both the party and national constitutions and the Arusha accord. He had completed his second term in office and according to the law was nonrenewable.

“I would like to warn everyone: whoever wants to create problems with the ruling party elected by the people, he’ll find himself in trouble,” a furious Nkurunziza said, adding “No one will stop the CNDD-FDD party.”

Opposition swiftly mobilised supporters across the country leading to massive processions from the villages pouring onto the streets of the capital Bujumbura.

The ruling party was thrown in panic and unleashed security personnel against the protestors mostly youth. Hundreds were killed as thousands fled the country to neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania and DRC.

On the afternoon of May 13th, 2015, while in a military barracks, General Godefroid Niyombare announced before journalists, “President Pierre Nkurunziza has been dismissed from his duties; the government is dismissed.”

At the time of the coup attempt, President Nkurunziza was in Tanzania to attend an East African summit on the political situation in Burundi.

However, the coup was averted as pro-Nkurunziza forces battled the forces loyal to the coup plotters.

Nkurunzia stated on the radio, from Tanzania, that the coup had failed-this message was relayed by the President of Burundi’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

President Nkurunziza returned to Burundi May 14th, 2015 and went to Ngozi in his native province. Elections were later held and he won but opposition contested the polls.

President Nkurunziza in 2016 meets over 500 youth in Gitega one year after the Army had attempted to depose him

The following year, Nkurunziza was careful about the youth’s lethal power. He organized a large youth conference on March 31st, 2016 in Gitega to understand their grievances against him and collectively negotiating a solution.

Despite President Nkurunzia’s intimidatory stance, the youth seemed not shaken. This was the first time they were meeting since the bloody protests.

The conference was themed ‘The role of Youth in the development and maintenance of security.’

“In recent days, the crisis that we have experienced has brought to light the limits of Burundian youth in distinguishing good from evil. We have a duty to guide you on the right path,” said Pierre Nkurunziza.

He told them that a country without a clear-sighted and hard-working youth is a country with no future. Always keep in mind that those who shed their blood for our independence were the same age as you.

Burundi has a population of 12 million but more than 60% of the population is aged between 0-25 years.

Nkurunziza argued; “it is very unfortunate to note that young people are always sought after by certain people who seek only their personal interests.”

Similar Youth conferences have been held annually since the first one in 2016 and various recommendations have been made including; skilling the youth, engaging in development projects, access to credit, enlisting in military, and education.

According to Nkurunziza, “youth, without benchmarks, is youth without a future.” He called on young people to choose between the good and the evil.

However, Nkurunziza has closed all borders to Burundi’s neighbours banned citizens from freely engaging in cross border trading. Unemployment level is so high in Burundi and the country is deeply isolated from the region.

As a means of containing the lethal power of the youth, Nkurunziza has enlisted them into a state sponsored militia Imbonerakure currently used to execute all sorts of horror against opposition in the country.

After isolating the country from the rest of the world, Nkurunziza ordered the Imbonerakure to collect funds from citizens that will be used for preparing the forthcoming general elections despite the global Covid19 pandemic.

Burundi is bracing for Presidential elections in May. But this time Nkurunziza will not appear on the ballot paper- he has already secured an exit package of U$500,000, a palatial mansion and a handsome lifetime monthly salary.

Protestors trekking from villages enroute to Streets of the capital Bujumbura in 2015. They demanded President Nkurunziza to drop third term plans

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Schools in Burundi Reopen With Disregard For Covid-19



Schools in Burundi reopened early this week bringing an end to more than two months of vacation.

Egide Harerimana, a journalist attached to Iwacu, a private media critical of the Gitega based government, has taken a quick observation of the reopening of the schools.

According to Harerimana, while the start of the school year is happening in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, the barrier measures are not respected in some schools in the town hall of Bujumbura.

For good reason, insufficient desk benches and the high number of pupils and schoolchildren.

It is 10 a.m. at the Kamenge III primary school north of the city of Bujumbura. Classes haven’t started yet. The students play in the yard. A reunion after two months of long vacation.

Some even go so far as to kiss. Others look at their names on the bulletin board lists. No one cares about covid-19.

The washing kits are there but there is no soap, physical distancing is almost non-existent, the wearing of masks as well. There are risks of contamination.

“The situation is worrying. At a time when we are talking about an upsurge in positive cases, no measures have been taken to protect our children “, deplores a parent who met on the spot.

He calls on the school administration and the government to take all possible measures to protect students from covid-19.

The school administration says it reminded students to strictly observe barrier measures to prevent covid-19.

However, she does not deny a relaxation in the application of barrier gestures.

“It’s difficult to respect physical distancing with all these children,” says Hildegarde Banyankindagiye, headmistress of the primary school (ECOFO) Kamenge III.

She evokes a problem of lack of desk benches: “Three students share a desk bench. Normally, it should be at most two students on a bench to respect the physical distance but it is impossible “.

Time check, 11 a.m. at the Buyenzi municipal high school in Mukaza commune. A few students are in the classroom and others are entering. No one wears a mask.

In classrooms, two or three of them sit on small desks. Difficult to keep a distance between two students. There are no wash kits. Even on the two taps installed, the students wash their hands without soap.

“I wash my hands before I go to class. But in the classroom the situation is dangerous. We’re too tight, without a mask. There are risks of contamination, ”laments a 8th grade student at the same school.

According to Olive Habonimana, director of the municipal high school Buyenzi, it is difficult to control the pupils with respect to the barrier measures.

“We try to sensitize them but sometimes they forget the instructions, kiss or even shake hands,” She explains that wearing a mask is not mandatory.

The situation was the same at the Rohero Municipal High School. On this day of the start of the school year, the activities had not yet started. The pupils formed small groups in class to discuss, share how they spent their holidays.

Observation; they do not wear a mask and do not respect physical distancing. Yet, they came from different parts of the city, where covid-19 is reported.

“It’s difficult to prevent possible contamination when the students are external. We reminded them to wear masks on buses and to wash their hands when they arrive at school, ”said Gertrude Simbananiye, principal of Rohero Municipal High School.

She explains that her school has a high number of students, which is why it is impossible to maintain physical distancing in the classroom.

“Some classes have more than 80 students. So three students must share a desk bench, ”regrets the principal, adding that even classrooms are narrow and cannot contain many desk benches.

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President Ndayishimiye Launches Population Census in Burundi



The excersise to count every Burundian in the much isolated East African country was officially flagged off by President Evariste Ndayishimiye on Friday.

President Ndayishimiye launched activities of the general census of the population, habitat, agriculture and breeding scheduled for 2022.

He urged his compatriots , each as far as he is concerned to invest in the success of this census so that decision-makers can know the real life situation of Burundian citizens.

Ndayishimiye indicated that the general census under preparation will provide objective figures which will help to know the personnel to be aligned on the fight against poverty.

According to him, the next general census will provide the opportunity to assess what has happened since the last census in 2008 and the economic situation of Burundi.

On this occasion, the President specified that the results of this census will serve as a basis for the implementation of public policies adapted to the real needs of the population.

He added that the general census of 2022 will make it possible to know the number of the population by age groups, and especially the number of young people, which will facilitate the State to take strategies to prepare for a better future.

Ndayishimiye says this census will also provide a good opportunity for the State to make the population understand that it is necessary to give birth to children that we can bear.

It was also an opportunity for the Head of State to call on the entire Burundian population to prepare to respond massively to this census, inviting all the administrators and leaders to sensitize the population on the importance of being registered.

“We have integrated the basic modules of agriculture and livestock in the general census population and housing and data collection will be done using new information and communication technologies,” he said.

On behalf of technical and financial partners friends of Burundi, the representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) appealed to the Government of Burundi to complete the process of setting up the Central Census Bureau, the central technical body of execution and condition sine qua non for the optimal realization and the success of this census.

Because of the importance of the 4th general census of Burundi, the representative of UNFPA in Burundi called on politicians, administrators, religious men and women, members of civil society and the private sector to call for the mobilization and support from all.

He reaffirmed the readiness of UNFPA and the United Nations system to continue mobilizing global expertise in the field of censuses and additional resources to support the diligent completion of this important operation in accordance with international standards until dissemination and development.

It should be noted that this general census of the population, housing, agriculture and livestock in 2022 will last 21 days and that the cost is estimated at BIF 48,556,797,000 (U$24,458,583).

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East African Community Urged to Fight Wildlife Crimes



Sylvester Mwakitalu the President of EA Association of Prosecutors (EAAP) has called on the EAC partner states to cooperate in curbing wildlife crimes.

Mwakitalu who is also the Director of Public Prosecution in Tanzania said it was crucial for EAC countries to join forces in addressing transnational organised crime.

“The scourge of tourism and wildlife crimes leaves us with no option other than cooperating,” said Mwakitalu, while addressing the 9th EAAP annual general meeting on Monday.

He also noted the importance of the EAC partner states to fully engage in the repatriation of offenders and exchange of information. Mwakitalu warned that wildlife criminals were getting more sophisticated each day, hence the need for forging cooperation.

Meanwhile, his Kenyan counterpart DPP Noordin Haji advocated for the harmonisation of policies in curbing trans-border crimes.

“This will be an important step especially when we are grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Noordin said.

He also rooted for joint collaboration among partner states, singling out Kenya’s move of returning gold to Tanzania as a perfect example of collaboration among partner states.

Two years ago, Kenya returned 35kg of gold seized in the country by Police to Tanzania.

According to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the 46-year-old man had arrived from Mwanza via Kilimanjaro and was heading to Dubai.

On his part, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and social sectors Christophe Bazivamo lauded the prosecutors for safeguarding justice within the region by streamlining delivery of justice by enhancing cooperation among partner states through detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes within the region.

Bazivamo told prosecutors that the EAC, through the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAACA) had endeavoured to pursue monetary and asset recovery in cases of transnational crimes in the region.

“We have engaged in several regional training programmes that have resulted in improved skills in asset recovery, crime detection, investigations, whistleblower and witness protection among others,” he added.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General however acknowledged that the community has encountered numerous challenges in its efforts to counter the prevalence of transnational crimes and wildlife crimes.

EAAP is an association of National Prosecution Authorities of East Africa, whose mandate is to promote and facilitate cooperation among its member states through detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes in the region as well as to offer legal assistance to its members.



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