The Crisis in Burundi

Issue 1708

15 September 2017

Burundi has been going through a period of grave political uncertainty since the contested presidential elections of 2015. There is a danger that civil war could explode at any moment.

Attempts at mediation at the regional level have been ineffective or less than credible. The international community’s diplomatic pressure has proved to be equally ineffectual. While it is true that the solution must come from the Burundian population, this crisis is still a test for the credibility of the international community and regional institutions.

It is two years now since Burundi plunged into yetanother political crisis. It was sparked when the ruling part – Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie-Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD) – re-nominated the incumbent president, Pierre Nkurunziza, as its candidate for the presidential elections in 2015. He was already completing the second of two terms.

Demonstrators came out on the streets April 25, 2015, contesting the nomination. The government responded by ordering the police to disperse protesters, causing injuries and deaths. More than 250,000 fled to neighboring countries; countless people were internally displaced, and there were other extensive and grave human rights violations. Since then there have been many initiatives to resolve the crisis but with no tangible results.