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

7 Min Read

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.