What to learn from Burundi’s Spring & Niyombare Military Coup?

Since three weeks ago, Burundi has entered a decisive confrontation over the contested third term of the seating president Pierre Nkurunziza. Lawyers and constitutionalists can still convince the public while they are not even convinced themselves. Whatever has happened in terms of interpreting the constitution, the positive aspect was that the contestation remained mostly in the hands of the population. Additionally, the contestation of the third presidential term of Pierre Nkurunziza was organized by Burundians without considering their ethnic appurtenance. Claiming a people’s right beyond ethnic cleavages expresses a huge step in terms of establishing democracy in the great lakes region.

Few days ago, the world watched the exceptional pace of the Burundi crisis when military generals interfered within the contestation by announcing the ouster of President Pierre Nkurunziza. The public and observers have all applauded the initiative, though the latter was unconstitutional, hoping that the military coup would save Burundi to backsliding, putting the Arusha’s Accord aside. The blogger seems considering that applauding the military coup was as likely as normal because we, in the great lakes region, mostly have expected our leaders, to giving an interest on their population welfare instead of gripping on power. Therefore, anything that would halt holding forever the power, despite its constitutionality, may look as supportable.

The military coup has failed. Seemingly, most of military coup generals have likely surrendered to the loyalists. The president who spent few nights in Tanzania has returned back to Burundi; and the military confrontation around key strategic places-institutions has ended. Consequently, the fate of these renegades must concern observer as well as international community as they need to be tried without political interferences. Their motives to interfere into the demonstration is being right now debated as it may have strengthen the president’s position of running for the next term, third, second or even the new first one after Niyombare.

Beyond the failed coup, it remains unclear on what the public contesting the third term of Nkurunziza will probably be planning to do in such circumstances. The possible option is that the Burundian regime, especially partisans of the third term has found excuses of using any means to bind every attempting to invade streets again. Thus, the military coup might be seen as unconstitutional while it confines possibilities of demonstrating in Bujumbura and countryside. Subsequently, the military coup might have benefited to the 3d term partisans and the regime in general. That’s the first lesson to learn from mixing approaches and the use of force while contestation has been initiated by the public.

On the other side, the military confrontation in Bujumbura between loyalists and renegades has opened up breaches that in the short run will probably be affecting the Burundian security services. These breaches will probably create suspicious among key commanders, even though the failed coup did not have anything to do with supporting demonstrators. In addition, the suspicion among security service officers in Burundi will affect their functioning as well as their relations with neighboring countries as the crisis might intentionally be considered as a source of insecurity in the region. Specifically, the Burundi confrontation around the Nkurunziza third might be intertwined with the great lakes region current political climate. Burundi, while having a constitution interpretation problem, it may become a terrain of regional power exercise. Informed observers may recall the recent political skirmishes between Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, while DRC being at center of confrontation. The reader would also remind statements, positions, interpretations as well as warning messages from these Burundi’s neighbors.

As the crisis in Burundi may wrap the great lakes regional confrontation, observers have to analyze it in the sense that it can lead to a regional and wide confrontation. Thus, informed observers won’t rule out the possibility that some individuals, military and regional powerful people would exploit this backsliding for their own interests. As the blogger has been advocating for the stability of the eastern DRC, the crisis in Burundi seems retaliating the fear that the Burundian crisis may expand and being an extra-border crisis. As most of countries in the region are likely facing the same confrontation around constitutional respect, the viewpoint above would express it’s important to halt such possible expansion of the crisis as it may be beneficial to some of those maneuvering to grip on power. The blogger thinks that when it comes to gripping on power, maneuvers around it won’t exclude the possibility of riddling some parts of their own power for the sake of reaching what they sought for long.

Finally, the reader would be considering that the military coup in Burundi will possibly contribute to delaying the electoral processes. This is another loophole that we need to understand when it comes to other contexts in the great lakes region. Subsequently, what has been lacking in one way can be gained in another one. Therefore, all claims around democracy and constitutional respect have to be a people concern rather than being militarized or politicized. The public willing to see constitutions being respected are advised to watch carefully interferences maneuvers and what the possibilities for being rolled by politicians are. On other hand, claims of the public wouldn’t only be circumstantial as if we all running for a leading position in politics. The blogger seems to believe that the main claim of the public would be turning around their country’s management, wealth distribution and redistribution etc. However, these are not question to be solved by powerful individuals and strong leaders. All these issues are rather questions of institutions function. Hence, we need to work on making our institutions as strong as possible than believing that some people are special to solve our problems. What do you think?

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