Dear readers, welcome to Part II of our special edition,

Once upon a time there was a very talented songwriter named Jeremy Riddle who wrote in his lyrics that “every dream has a process and a price. Those who accept the process and pay the price are living the dream. If you don’t, you just dream. ”You may or may not agree with him, but today, as Burundians celebrate Evariste Ndayishimiye one year after being elected President, I invite you to discuss the Burundian dreams and political goals that we have have heard over and over again. Managers come and go and the slogans usually stay the same.

What would a sustainable change cost?

In 2020, following the formation of his current cabinet, President Evariste Ndayishimiye announced a six-point priority program that highlighted the focus of his mandate (good governance, public health, agriculture, youth employment, social protection, peace and reconciliation). Beyond the political campaign promises, commentators saw another leader with fine words, and the question remained, “Will he deliver?” The answer to this question cannot be given until 2027, but today let’s examine the real cost of its promises and goals.

If you missed Parts I and II, you can read them for free using this link

5. Social protection

It was a great idea to make social protection a priority. Burundi urgently needs measures to provide adequate housing and food, to guarantee access to education and health and to promote social inclusion and political stability.

Poverty, inequality, vulnerability and exclusion are major challenges facing a large part of the African population. It is increasingly recognized that social protection has significant potential to address these issues. A more recent definition attempting to address these different challenges was proposed in the 2010 European Report on “Social Protection for Inclusive Development”:

“A specific package of measures to address the vulnerability of people’s lives through social insurance that provides lifelong protection from risk and adversity; through social assistance, which offers payments and benefits in kind to support and empower the poor; and through inclusion efforts that improve the opportunities for the marginalized to gain access to social security and welfare. “

The adoption of the National Social Protection Policy in 2011 confirmed the will of the Government of Burundi to work for the well-being of Burundian citizens. The aim of this directive is to gradually ensure adequate social protection for all Burundians, giving them access to health care, education and replacement income in times of need or risk. ”

In December 2020, President Evariste Ndayishimiye, in his speech at the 6th, reaffirmed the public institutions specializing in social protection, such as the National Social Security Institute (INSS), the Civil Service Mutual (MFP) and the National Pension and Risk Office (ONPR ) to improve and adapt to current circumstances and requirements.

He found that more than 90% of the Burundian population did not have health insurance. To remedy this situation, some partners are trying to promote health reciprocity, but unfortunately many households do not join them unless they are forced to. However, the government is not easing – he said

One of the most recent initiatives in the social security sector is a decree signed in September 2020 on the grant of health care for government employees who are retired for the age limit. From now on, all pathologies of this category will be supported in public and similar health structures and will be subsidized with 100% of the usage fee. It was President Ndayishimiye’s election promise.

To promote social protection in the years to come, the costly cost will first be to strengthen appropriate mechanisms for implementing social protection initiatives. Here, experts mention that in the context of Burundi, the implementation of community development project tools that can work directly with communities to ensure projects are sustainable and address priority needs is proposed.

It will oblige the government to increase public spending on social protection, encourage greater private sector funding and improve coordination between public funding and development partner funding.

To ensure a minimum of sustainability for existing social protection initiatives, the price has to be paid to effectively monitor the origin and use of the funds. In other words, it is important to ensure that all gains in social protection are not immediately wiped out by rising inflation and that sufficient ongoing expenditure is allocated to the social sectors to protect investments in infrastructure rehabilitation.

6. Peace and Reconciliation

If there is anything else to be said about Burundi’s peace and reconciliation, it is the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms in Burundi, rooted in peace agreements between 2000 and 2006, which ended around 15 years of civil war, following a failed transition to democracy in 1993 .

In his address to the nation on January 1, the late Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that 2012 would be marked by the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC, or CVR in French).

While the UN proposed involving foreign commissioners to strengthen the perceived independence of the TRC, the Burundian government shortly thereafter announced the establishment of a strictly national TRC, clearly drawing inspiration from the Arusha Agreement.

In January 2021, the current head of CVR, Amb. Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, told MPs that the commission found over 13,000 human remains in mass graves. 8 mass graves were discovered in Karusi Province, 11 in Gitega Province, 34 in Makamba Province and 16 in Rumonge Province, while 7 mass graves were discovered in Ngozi Province.

The report consists of 6 books, including a core that traces the origins of the serious and massive human rights violations in 1972, the role of the state and its institutions, the preliminary number of victims, and testimonies and hearings that have already taken place. The other 5 books are collections of photos of the community graves, excavated remains, and witnesses.

The TRC’s proposed mandate to keep the truth is quite ambitious and tough, with President Nkurunziza calling it “the final phase of the country’s peace process” on several occasions. The price for the success of this final phase will be for President Ndayismiye to take action that will lead to recognition of all victims and a better understanding of Burundi’s history.

But the big challenge for President Ndayishimiye will be to establish accountability conditions for those most responsible for past abuses. Will there be redress?

Ambassador NDAYICARIYE proposed to the government of Burundi that a law should be passed to absolve the victims of charges, organize a state mourning for all those killed during these massacres and ask for forgiveness from the victims who were brutally massacred by the state organs etc

– END part 3-

Thank you for reading!

Fabrice Iranzi, Editor-in-Chief |