An increasingly isolated President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi has warned enemies of his government and traitors within the ruling party that he will make their life twice miserable.
He made the remarks on Saturday at mubimbi commune in Bujumbura province during an event closing the long week dedicated to former combatants of CNDD-FDD that propelled him to power.
Nkurunziza showcased the replica of the hut which he used while commanding the former rebels and sampled the bush period foods which were mostly stolen from residents in occupied areas.
Also exhibited included an assortment of foods the rebels always stole from gardens of residents and fed on to survive the harsh bush war life. These dishes include; roasted corn, roasted sweet potatoes, cassava and boiled or roasted bananas and much more.
Nkurunziza took to the foods exhibition and served himself accompanied by his colleagues with whom they struggled together before capturing power.
The Ruling party CNDD-FDD is the Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie–Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie.
Nkurunziza who led this former rebel movement through the bush war period until today is largely facing internal rifts that threaten the party’s existence and his hold onto power.
Nkurunziza said on Saturday, “The armed struggle is over, today it is necessary to accelerate towards productivity in order to discover the country”
The events were guided by the theme;”I was a valiant fighter for peace, from now on I would be a courageous fighter for the development.”
“Whoever, will attack us we shall show them. If you start the fire you will regret why you started it,” Nkurunziza threatened but seemingly a frightened man who has been defied by most senior members of the party.
On 13 May 2015, army general Godefroid Niyombare said that he was “dismissing President Pierre Nkurunziza” following the 2015 Burundian unrest. Nkurunziza had flown out of the country for a regional event. However, this coup was later reversed.
Nkurunziza is a very careful man, always watching his steps for fear of being overthrown by rebels camped in neighbouring DRC that have repeatedly launched attacks inside Burundi.
Burundi has been gravely isolated from the international scene and also no-longer takes part in regional engagements for example East African Community bloc.
Experts argue that the ideological trajectory of the CNDD-FDD has shifted, from a rebel movement focused on social justice and state transformation, to a ruling party where governance is based on coercion, authoritarianism, loyalty and personal opportunism rather than ideological commitment.
In the Burundian context, several scholars have pointed to the fact that the CNDD-FDD never believed in the Arusha peace process that led to the 2005 elections.
Nkurunziza and his CNDD-FDD party have instead pursued total power by appealing to hardline positions in the party and society.
In explaining the sudden pursuit of authoritarianism by CNDD-FDD some scholars argue that the rebel movement did not have a clear ideology and thus it is not surprising that Nkurunziza and his party rely on coercive authoritarian power. Popular versions of this argument depict the armed movement as an ‘uneducated gang of thugs’.
Proponets of this reasoning emphasize the opportunism and brutal violence that characterized the CNDD-FDD as a rebel movement, which carried on once it became the ruling party.
The party is plagued by a ‘réflexe du maquis’ (reflex of the bush) developed during the armed struggle, which has continued to structure its governance tactics in the post-2005 peacetime.