The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 11 May 2015

by Molly Goodman on May 11, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(11MAY15)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

 

Burundian youth jump over a burning barricade as they protest in Bujumbura.

 

This week’s snapshot focuses on the recent protests in the central African country of Burundi that erupted in response to its president, Pierre Nkurunziz, bid to serve for a third term.

 

News Summary of events during the week of 04MAY15- 10MAY15:

  • 04MAY: Burundi was rocked by demonstrations that began against a bid by President Pierre Nkurunziza to serve a third term in office. (AFP)
  • 05MAY: Burundi’s constitutional court cleared President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a controversial third term. (AFP)
  • 06MAY: The government and opposition in Burundi met in a bid to defuse tensions after days of deadly demonstrations. (AFP)
  • 07MAY: The African Union warned the situation in Burundi was not suitable to hold elections. (AFP)
  • 08MAY: The U.N. refugee agency says more than 50,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries fearing violence ahead of the June 26 elections (AP)
  • 09MAY: The streets of Burundi’s capital were calm for the first time in weeks as protesters opposed to the president’s third term bid observed a truce. (AFP)
  • 10MAY: The African Union (AU) dispatched a high-level delegation to Burundi to help find peaceful solution to the crisis. (Xinhua)
  • 11MAY: Protesters marched in Burundi’s capital again, despite the government’s ban on any further street protests. (AP)

 

Samples of Twitter handles regarding the protests in Burundi:

  • @miko75011 – Michael Arseneault, Covers African news for Radio France International
  • @Daniel_Finnan – Daniel Finnan, Broadcast journalist for RFI specializing in Africa.
  • @ProfCaraJones – Cara E. Jones, Political Science Professor at Mary Baldwin College
  • @tomasvanacker – Tomas Van Acker, Conflict Research Group, Ghent University.
  • @geoffreyyork – Geoffrey York, Africa correspondent for The Globe and Mail
  • @AnaBaracaldo – Ana Maria Baracaldo, Information Analyst at ACAPS
  • @MaudJullien – Maud Jullien, BBC correspondent in the DRC

 

Samples of Third Party Validators regarding the protests in Burundi:

Carina Tertsakian, senior Rwanda researcher, Human Rights Watch

“More than 400 people are believed to be in detention as Burundi’s government tries to stop street protests against a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. Most of the detainees are ordinary people caught up in protests while others are demonstrators picked up during protests.”

–          Group: Hundreds arrested in Burundi amid protests, Associated Press, 01MAY15

 

Richard Sezibera, Secretary General, East Africa Community

            “Urging the Burundian government and all parties to ensure that the electoral process does not lead to humanitarian crisis. The Community reiterates its continued commitment in supporting the people of Burundi in the attainment of free and fair elections and promoting dialogue among all parties involved when called upon.”

– Regional bloc lauds member states for receiving Burundian refugees, Xinhua (China), 01MAY15

 

Jean Claude Nkundwa, Bujumbura-based peace activist,

“The No. 1 goal of this regime has been stability. If you consider where Burundi has come from, Pierre Nkurunziza has been extremely successful.”

– As elections approach, Burundians fear a return to war, Aljazeera (America), 23APR15

 

Teddy Mazina, a Burundian photographer and radio host

“These guys on the ground can be manipulated very easily,” Mazina said, referring to the imbonerakure. “And the most powerful slogans the party has to use are ethnic. They’ve been telling people that if Nkurunziza is not elected again it will be like giving power back to the Tutsis — which is not true. Now they have an illusion of power, that they are the kings of their local areas. It can be very dangerous.”

–          As elections approach, Burundians fear a return to war, Aljazeera (America), 23APR15

 

 Sylvere Nimpagaritse, Deputy President, Burundi Constitutional Court

“As a Burundian and custodian of the law, my conscience could not allow me to be part of something all Burundians were standing up against, something that violates the constitution and the pillars upon which peace was achieved in Burundi.”

-Burundi court validates president’s third term bid, Associated Press, MAY15

 

Lucy Hovil, Senior Researcher, International Refugee Rights Initiative

Despite the risks, civil war is not inevitable. Although leaders like Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe have been able to change their constitutions to retain power, across the continent, strategies to prevent the escalation of violence from deteriorating into civil war are cause for hope. Similar protests in Burkina Faso forced President Compaore to resign and, despite fears of civil conflict, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan accepted defeat in Nigeria’s recent election. However, it remains to be seen which path Burundi will take, and whether or not the international community will effectively support Burundians working for peace. As Burundians know only too well, legacies of violence can never be under-estimated.”

-Nkurunziza Third Term “suicidal for the nation”: an interview with a Burundian politician in hiding, African Arguments Editor, 07MAY15

 

Samples of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the protests in Burundi:

1. Burundi protests after truce ends

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 04 May 2015

The small central African nation has been rocked by demonstrations that began against a bid by President Pierre Nkurunziza to serve a third term in office. At least 10 people have died and scores more have been hurt since the protests began last weekend. Nearly 600 people have also been arrested, according to police.

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2. Burundi constitutional court allows president’s third term bid

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 05 May 2015

Burundi’s constitutional court cleared President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a controversial third term, following days of deadly protests in the capital Bujumbura.

The court ruled that the president’s bid to stand for another term “by direct universal suffrage for five years is not contrary to the constitution of Burundi,” the judgment signed by six out of seven judges read.

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3. Burundi government and opposition hold talks on political crisis: sources

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 06 May 2015

The government and opposition in Burundi have met in a bid to defuse tensions after days of deadly demonstrations against a third term bid by President Pierre Nkurunziza.

“This is a last chance meeting, they have to come up with concrete solutions so that elections can be held in acceptable conditions,” a diplomat said.

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4. African Union warns Burundi environment ‘not conducive’ for elections: CCTV

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 07 May 2015

The African Union warned the situation in Burundi was not suitable to hold elections, saying it could not send poll observers after deadly protests triggered by the president’s bid for a third term in power.

“The environment is not conducive for an election. You can’t be going into a country meeting refugees leaving, and saying ‘we are gong to observe the elections,'” AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

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5. UN: 50,000 people flee Burundi ahead of elections

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 08 May 2015

The U.N. refugee agency says more than 50,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries fearing violence ahead of the June 26 elections. Rwanda is hosting the largest number of refugees with 25,000 followed by Tanzania with 17,696 and Congo with 8,000.

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6. Burundi protests pause as demonstrators observe truce

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 09 May 2015

The streets of Burundi’s capital were calm on Saturday for the first time in weeks as protesters opposed to the president’s third term bid observed a truce.

Protest leader, Pacifique Nininahazwe, declared that demonstrations would be suspended for a day to allow people to “stock up on supplies” and for the dead to be buried with honor. The protests will resume on Sunday.”

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7. AU dispatches high-level delegation to Burundi

Media: (Xinhua)

Byline: N/A

Date: 10 MAY 2015

The African Union (AU) has dispatched a high-level delegation to Burundi to help find peaceful solution to the crisis in that country, said a statement from AU.

The continental bloc has reiterated its appeal for dialogue and restraint in order to find a consensual solution to the crisis in the country.

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8. Protesters March Again in Burundi’s Capital Despite Ban

 Media: Associated Press (AP)

Byline: Jerome Delay

Date: 11 May 2015

 About 2,000 people marched through a neighborhood of Burundi’s capital on Monday as police looked on, breaking the government’s ban on any further street protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in power.

 The European Union Observer mission for the June elections said the Burundi government is curtailing fundamental freedoms of expression, association and protest which are essential conditions of democratic elections.

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