Burundi ruling party, National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for Defence and Democracy, has urged the party youth wing The Imbonerakure (“those that see far”) militia to protest against president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Albert Nsekabambaye, the CNDD-FDD Publicity Secretary in Cibitoke commune, on Thursday wrote a letter urging the party members to protest against the response that Museveni sent to Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Cibitoke is a city located in north-western Burundi. It is the capital of the Cibitoke Province. The city is the birthplace of Olympic judoka Odette Ntahonvukiye.
Nsekabambaye further, called on Imbonerakure members [notorious for beatings and injuries, extrajudicial killings, banditry as well as political killings], other groups and Burundians from all walks of life to show up for the demonstrations.
The massive protests are planned for Saturday December 29, 2018 in areas of Cibitoke district denouncing the letter that the Ugandan head of state wrote to the Burundi letter.
Genesis of the silent EAC crisis
In a letter dated December 4, 2018, Nkurunziza wrote to Museveni who is also the East African Community (EAC) chairman imploring him to restrain Rwanda’s Paul Kagame from damaging the Bujumbura government.
Nkurunziza accused Rwanda of “preparing and supervising” the coup d’état of 2015, saying the coup perpetrators and other criminals have taken up residence in Rwanda where they receive support to attack Burundi.
He claimed the coup perpetrators cross Rwanda-Burundi border or via the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as getting assistance and travel documents to enable them to circulate in the region and even in Europe.
“It is, therefore, very urgent for the East African Community to focus on the real problem that is jeopardising peace and security throughout Burundi. It is Rwanda, a state party to the treaty establishing the East African Community, which is not at its first attempt to destabilise its neighbour, Burundi, in violation of the fundamental principles of the community …,” Nkurunziza wrote.
He added: “In short, Rwanda is the only country in the region that is one of the main destabilisers of my country and, therefore, I no longer consider it a partner country, but simply as an enemy country.”
Nkurunziza had boycotted the November 30, 2018, EAC heads of state summit in Arusha, recalling that the attempted coup on May 13, 2015, happened when he was attending the EAC heads of state summit in Dar es Salaam.
Museveni’s itchy letter
In his reply, Museveni accused Bujumbura of trying to manipulate the regional bloc to suit its own ends.
Museveni wrote: “Your line of saying that the EAC is usurping the sovereignty of the Burundian people by wanting to know the latest in the evolution of the political situation in Burundi, may not be correct.”
He said there is the historic treaty of Arusha Agreement, which the region guaranteed.
“What does ‘gurantee’ mean? It means that you take interest to be sure that what was agreed is on course.”
He went on: “It may not be correct for only one party, the Burundi government, to tell all others (the EAC) and some Barundi elements that are even living outside that everything is on course and you have no right to inquire.”
Museveni said respecting inter-state agreements, even when they impact internal situations, may not be interference and is only what was agreed.
In response to all these accusations, President Paul Kagame said he would not allow Nkurunziza provoke him using the regional integration.
He even accused neighbours of backing regional rebels who want to overthrow him.
Nkurunziza goes overboard
On Sunday December 16, 2018, while this year’s African Zone Scout competition got underway at Gitega in Burundi, Nkurunziza deployed the military to the border and blocked Ugandan scouts.
Uganda was the chair of this year’s zonal competitions and was supposed to provide judges, the band and guest of honour.
The team comprised of 309 scouts was blocked at the border, even the top officials who wanted to proceed to the event changed their minds and moved back with the rest of the team.
Students from Ntare School who had moved ahead of the team were directed to withdraw and return to Uganda to the shock of Uganda Scouts Association (USA).
Burundi opposition leader, Minani Jérémie, called the document mobilising anti-Museveni protests “outrageous, beyond the scandalous”.
“Now, the Burundian regime obliges people to participate in protests against the letter Museveni sent Nkurunziza,” Minani tweeted.
“In 2013, I warned Pierre NKURUNZIZA about any attempt to revise the Constitution to satisfy the ambitions and calculations of a man or a group of men.”
He added: “Our country is headed by a condemned to death for acts of terrorism. The same sinister person is under investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity committed in Burundi.”