Kagame’s Regime Continues To Destabilize Burundi: Why?

Pierre Nkurunziza and Paul Kagame

It’s a payback for Pierre Nkurunziza’s government revelations about Lake Rweru corpses last year. Kagame also had to get even because Nkurunziza allegedly leaked Kagame’s evil plan to assassinate Kikwete over his statement requesting Kigali to negotiate with its FDLR rebels.

So Kagame is trying to turn Burundi’s 3rd presidential term issue into an ethnic problem. Kagame is trying hard to stir the pot so the killings can become widespread in Burundi, in which case he would manage to portray Nkurunziza as a worse criminal than Kagame himself. Kagame’s agents have also reportedly infiltrated some mainstream media inside Burundi, including the infamous RPA radio station that was closed recently in Bujumbura. Most horrible images from Burundi circulating on social media campaign are being posted by trolls run by Kigali agents in order to back what they are doing inside Burundi and to make Burundi situation look terrible to the international community. They are blowing things out of proportion, therefore forcing Nkurunziza government to crack down on Internet and social media.

The issue of 3rd term for Nkurunziza could turn out to be a non-issue if only Burundians could focus their energy on debating it properly. The ongoing troubles are serving a distraction from that main goal. Also, if elections were to take place in normal circumstances, maybe Nkurunziza would lose in popular election.

Another outcome that Kagame may not have foreseen: a scenario where Nkurunziza may use today’s chaotic situation to his own political advantage.

Nkurunziza, an ex-rebel leader himself, could successfully play fear-mongering card with a scared population. He could postpone the June elections (which may be understandable due to the “civil war”) which would buy him enough time to reassure the population. Since he has already secured nomination by CNDD-FDD to run for president, the postponement would also buy him enough time to campaign for the next election.

Nkurunziza can also use the postponement period to focus on restoring peace and stability, make himself appear as a saint by turning down his nomination. While Burundians are busy worshiping with pastor/president Nkurunziza, he would use this time to fix up fresh cracks within his party and prepare the next candidate of his choice.

If Nkurunziza plays his cards right, he may come out of this crisis stronger than he has ever been

Bosco Mutarambirwa