Updated: Aug 4
It is quite devastating, in the modern Africa, that several countries are still struggling with various military regimes since independence today. The state in these countries has imposed itself as the exclusive economic operator, where politicians and civil servants program and direct investments, while ordinary people are simply sidelined and powerless.
The peasants here, do only as directed. They provide almost all the resources of the party-state as the policy decisions are taken without consultation.
In the past, Rwanda and Burundi, for instance, served as reservoirs of labour for the exploitation of the wealth of the extensive mining areas of the Belgian Congo to the west and the British colonies in the east. Following independence in the 1962, they were reduced to small, overcrowded and landlocked micro-states.
While Rwanda is steadily stabilizing after its historical genocide, Burundi’s economy is steadily dwindling. Following President Nkurunziza-instigated political crisis in 2015 the economy fell alarmingly. Ranked second poorest country in the world in 2013 and 2014, it fell to the poorest in 2015 and has remained there ever since. Burundi was ranked 180th in 2015, falling to 185th in 2019 and 2020.
At the election in 2010, where for the first time in the country’s history, voters were called upon to vote at the normal end of an electoral cycle, there seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel for country.
But while maintaining a de facto one-party state, the incumbent has, time and over, been concentrating all his powers in his hands, and neutralized any organised opposition. Contrary to the constitution, Nkurunziza sought a “third term” in the 2015 elections, and won through a shambolic process.
Freedom of expression and independent media were crushed, following popular protests and violent repression.
Burundi’s economy now ranks the lowest on the planet thanks mainly to conflict and elite corruption.