Burundi is passing through one of the most difficult moments in its political, social, security and economic history. Since the CNDD-FDD came to power in 2005, the country has experienced a considerable decline in its economy due to a governance system characterized by economic malpractices and a horible corruption. Warned observers have each time denounced that “thieves of public funds in Burundi having become stronger than the State”. The regime has also been characterized by a campaign of massive destruction of the national economy by destruction of commercial infrastructures set in fire which have caused enormous losses and have had serious aftermath for the financial survival of many Burundian households. The situation worsened with the third illegal term of President Pierre Nkurunziza after the budgetary support and projects suspension by the main financial partners, notably the European Union, which financed more than 50% of the budget of the country.
As a result, all sectors of national life have been affected by taxes raising measures imposed by the government while trying to fill the budget gaps and thus allow the public institutions to continue operating. Health and education sectors and the agricultural production sector, which supports more than 90% of the population, have been left behind and the population ‘paid the price’. In addition, the agricultural sector has been severely affected by household instability and by security measures that no longer allow “the right to liberty for everyone to have the opportunity to earn a living through freely chosen or accepted work “. Burundians have been kidnapped and killed and continue to be killed for the simple reason that they are not partisans of the government, which has led to movements of the population into exile.
In this report of March 2017, we dwelt much more on the high cost of living which is the root cause of the famine and the malaria epidemics that has caused enormous damage in the country. This report focuses on dizzying increases in the prices of basic necessities, the consequences of famine and corruption on public health, and highlights the NGOs Act which has limited their freedom to intervene in particular against malaria epidemics in Burundi.
Instead of dealing with the thousands of families struck by disease and famine, the Minister of Health was concerned about “funding” her CNDD-FDD party. She compelled all the health structures in her area to pay to her political party CNDD-FDD an amount of 368,181,100.00 BIF of which 5,820,000.00 BIF paid by the Ministry at the central level.
In order to hide the reality of the malaria epidemics and thus show the world that everything is going well, the National Health Information System has distorted the statistics by reducing and minimizing the numbers of victims. Subsequently, under pressure from the national and international community, the Minister of Health finally admitted that malaria was an epidemics.
The increase in taxes and duties in the land sector began to show its effects in the urban areas during this March 2017.
In Bujumbura mayorship, taxpayers found themselves in the embarrassment due to tariffs that Mayorship Civil Servants were themselves unable to understand and apply.
This report of March 2017 gives some illustrations in connection with the political patronage that characterizes the granting of internships and jobs in the public and private sectors. A well-informed analyst of the situation in Burundi told us: “Outside the Church there is no salvation,” Saint Augustine said in the 4th century AD, speaking of the Catholic Church of the time. He was convinced that no salvation was possible without being an adept of the Catholic Church. Everything had to pass through this Church, which was the only one flourishing at the time and through which salvation was to pass from Heaven to Earth. In the current era, this has been the case in Burundi with the ruling party for a dozen years, the CNDD-FDD, which, since it is in power, is almost a condition of access to all citizens “belonging to that political party “.
In the education sector, students in public universities have started an unlimited strike to force President Pierre Nkurunziza to cancel the controversial law on the management of scholarships and internships that further deepens social inequalities between the rich and the poor in Burundi especially by reducing the chances of accessing university education to children from poor families.
Before concluding our report, in the conclusion and recommendations paragraph, we note some recently published laws and regulations that infringe freedoms as well as other facts related to governance in Burundi.
The report especially denounces the speculations and the tricks that characterize the sale of sugar and fuels in Burundi. The ruling party took over the sale of these strategic products to derive as much profit as possible in order to finance its operation and be of interest to young unemployed Imbonerakure.
In conclusion, FORSC notes that the political crisis related to the third term of President Pierre Nkurunziza has had serious consequences for the enjoyment of the socio-economic rights of Burundian citizens. The desire of the tenors of the CNDD-FDD to remain in power has strengthened the spirit of political egoism to the detriment of the collective interest which has been relegated to the second zone. All that counts for the ruling party is to remain in power willy-nilly and all the means are good to achieve it. The rest is of little importance, no development project, no project of society!
Thus, the government has reinforced security measures that have had serious effects on the survival of citizens. Fear of potential opponents has been at the root of massive violations of human rights, including ESC rights.
Faced with the freezing of aid by its main international partners, the government of Burundi has chosen the option of maximizing taxes and taxes, which has exacerbated the survival of the Burundians who were already in a situation of notorious pauperization.
Malaria has horribly touched the hungry citizens and many many of them have died of it. The government of Burundi observed the evil in silence to hide that the ‘house had caught fire’.
In the meantime, corruption, economic embezzlement and forced financial contributions to the CNDD-FDD party in the Ministry of Health, in particular, continued to ignore the epidemics of malaria and famine that hit the majority of Burundians.
In addition, laws and regulations that challenge individual and collective rights and freedoms have been voted and promulgated in the interests of the only ruling party, the CNDD-FDD.
In view of the above, FORSC makes the following recommendations:
To the Government of Burundi:
To reduce taxes on basic needs products to allow price reductions that have undermined the survival of the vulnerable population;
To increase the salaries of civil servants to adapt them to the cost of living and the devaluation of the currency;
To avoid the deterioration of the food situation of households by disproportionate and extreme security measures in an officially declared peace context;
To punish Imbonerakure, policemen and public officials who propagate terror by seriously violating the rights and freedoms of citizens;
To end arbitrary and forced contributions against a population affected by the ongoing political and economic crisis in the country;
To review the implementation of the anti-corruption and economic embezzlement policy that has become an accepted form of governance;
Put an end to the policy of lying and political manipulation;
To make free the access to malaria treatment for vulnerable groups of people;
Review the general framework of cooperation between the Republic of Burundi and international partners, including NGOs working in the context of humanitarian aid;
To apply the principle of fairness and justice in the granting of public employment;
To revise the current new law governing non-profit associations that seriously violates freedom of association in Burundi;
To suspend the law that reorganizes the scholarship management system and internship that is causing a terrible disorder in public higher education ;
End speculations and shackles around the sale of sugar and petroleum products.
To EAC, AU and UN;
To force President Pierre Nkurunziza to re-establish the rule of law and thus to promote social programs for the development and protection of the population;
To intervene quickly by saving the country from authoritarian drift and to assist the Burundians as far food and medicines are concerned.
Downloard the report here Montly Report of March 2017_FORSCr