By David Himbara
In terms of physical characteristics, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza is shorter than Rwandan head of state Paul Kagame. But in terms of leadership quality, Nkurunziza just demonstrated that he is a giant while Kagame is dwarf.
Nkurunziza just announced he will not run for another term
The Burundian head of state just announced he will not run for another term. On June 7, 2018, Nkurunziza informed his supporters as follows:
”I will support the new president who will be elected in 2020…A man can change his position in the bed but he cannot change his word.”
While Kagame has locked Rwanda in its historic pattern whereby every ruler is removed violently, Nkurunziza just broke that curse.
Kagame has blocked all means of peaceful transfer of power. He is following in the footsteps of Rwandan regimes since Kanjogera’s coup d’etat in 1896. Each ruler up to Juvenal Habyarimana took power and left power by brute force. Even Pasteur Bizimungu who was a figurehead president was thrown into prison by his successor. Kagame hopes he will be an exception — he falsely believes he will continue to dominate and to terrorize Rwandans without any consequences. Here is a dictator who refuses to look at what happened to all Rwandan autocrats before him.
Nkurunziza has wisely stepped away from the politics of dying in office or being violently removed.
President Nkurunziza is not perfect. His record will be judged by the people of Burundi in the context of transitional politics influenced by instability. Be that as it may, Nkurunziza must have looked in the mirror and saw a man who warned him not to follow the likes of Kagame. These are vain leaders determined to cling to power no matter the consequences. Kagame would rather see Rwanda go up in flames than give up power. Kagame is addicted to power. Not so for Nkurunziza. That is why Nkurunziza is a giant — while Kagame is dwarf.