Pierre Nkurunziza: So Long to the President who said ‘NO’ to the ICC, UN, WHO, BBC, and VOA

Burundi_Pierre Nkurunziza
Pierre Nkurunziza (Source: Al Jazeera)

This past Monday, the relatively young (55 years-old) president of Burundi,  Pierre Nkurunziza, died of a heart attack. It deeply saddened me. Why? Because of what he stood for, and his will to give decency to his own people or rather to govern his country without foreign involvement in their affairs. Pierre Nkurunziza was the first president of Burundi to have ruled without civil war.

With this global ‘pandemic,’ It has finally been understood that whatever the West calls democracy is not really democracy, but rather the government of the entire population by a few. In the past, people have said that Pierre Nkurunziza was not a democrat and was holding onto power. Yet… he had been in power 15 years due to step down in August, and I did not hear the West complain about his neighbor Kagame in power for over 20 years. It is as if democracy is a word or rather a card pulled out of a bucket by Western powers to threaten those who prefer to do the bidding of the people rather than their bidding.

Burundi_Flag
Flag of Burundi

Given that he had asked the UN to get out of his country last year, and then last month the WHO, and was one of the few countries to get out of the WHO because of their compromising and virulent tendencies in his country… is it a surprise that he died so suddenly?

Nobody talks about his achievements. What were Pierre Nkurunziza’s achievements?

Upon assuming office in 2005, Nkurunziza faced the significant challenges of maintaining peace and stability in the country, as well as rebuilding its war-battered economy. Burundi was emerging from over 10 years of civil war and unrest when he took over.

He united the country and brought in peace, during his first 10 years.

He rebuilt the infrastructures of his country, and oversaw the disarmament of several armed groups in Burundi.

He helped foster peace in the region: in 2007, he sent troops to Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission to prevent al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked armed group, from overrunning the Horn of Africa country’s government.

Burundi_Pierre Nkurunziza_1
Pierre Nkurunziza was an avid footballer (Source: Al-Jazeera)

The East African Community, a regional bloc, said in a statement: “Nkurunziza’s contribution to the re-establishment of constitutional order, peace, ethnic tranquility, rights and equality for all since his ascendancy to power in 2005 in Burundi cannot be overemphasised.

His commitment to security and rights for all irrespective of social, ethnic, religious or political background remains a beacon on which Burundians can build on to further their development objectives,” it added.

In 2015, Nkurunziza made the controversial decision to seek a third term in office. A coup was launched in May 2015 while Nkurunziza was abroad, but it was swiftly foiled. Despite several delays, an opposition boycott, and ‘international’ pressure (we know what that means), polls were held and Nkurunziza won a third term. After the 2015 elections, the situation took a turn for the worse, when donors cut off funding and placed sanctions on Burundi (similar to Côte d’Ivoire when France was bombing it in 2010, or Libya with the NATO coalition in 2011, or Zimbabwe). History repeats itself, we now know that when a country is placed under ‘international’ sanctions, it is usually because the leader might be serving his people.

In 2017, Nkurunziza formally withdrew Burundi from the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the first country to do so – amid accusations the court was focusing too much on the continent. Every African country should withdraw from that sham called ICC which only prosecutes African (Black) leaders. Later the UN left (remember ONUCI taking sides in Côte d’Ivoire?), and BBC and VOA were kicked out of the country for inciting violence, and spreading false news.

Burundi basket
Burundi basket

In the streets of Bujumbura, “some residents said they would remember the former leader [avid football player], a born-again Christian known for his preaching, for the good things he did for their country.”

I will remember him for the advice he gave us. He always told us to love our country. He always put God first and someone who does that will not face hardships in life,” Achel Niyongere told Al Jazeera.

Patrick Harakandi added:  He is the first president to govern Burundi until he finished his term. He made history. He ruled Burundi for 15 years without a civil war.” (Al Jazeera)

Who / What did we say Goodbye to in Africa in 2019?

Robert Mugabe_4
Robert Mugabe (History.com)

1. President Robert Mugabe, Freedom Fighter and First President of Zimbabwe left us this year… This was a man who tirelessly fought for his country’s liberation, and for the Black race as a whole. Some have called him an icon of liberation, and indeed he was! Julius Malema of South Africa said, “We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.” Joseph Kabila, former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said, “We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who came to our rescue when our country was victim of a foreign aggressor. The continent has lost one of its pan-African leaders, a hero of independence.” Let us keep his legacy up!

2. Toni Morrison, the First Black Woman to Win a Nobel Prize in Literature moved to another plane this year. Luckily, we can still read her thoughts in her profound, heartbreaking, and conscience shakers books.

Toni Morrison_1
Toni Morrison (Source: OvationTv.com)

3. This year, in Algeria, we said ‘basta!’ to the handicapped Abdelaziz Bouteflika who was trying to run for another presidential term. Thousands of Algerians staged sit-ins every Friday for months until they led to his demise! Even though they are now fighting to remove one of his cronies from power… that was a first step toward freedom.

4. We sent our Farewell to Beji Caïd Essebsi, Tunisia’s First Democratically Elected President. This seasoned politician, unity builder, passed away on the anniversary of the republic which reminded people of the role he played in nation-building since independence.

Jean-Baptiste Sipa
Jean-Baptiste Sipa (Source: Cameroun24.net)

5. The Cameroonian journalist Jean-Baptiste Sipa also changed dimension this year. He was known as a tireless seeker of the truth, and kept the Cameroonian government on its toes. An outstanding journalist, colleague of the late Pius Njawe, and head of Njawe’s Le Messager after his [Njawe] demise. I am one of the few privileged ones to have learnt a few things about journalism from him. Cameroon’s journalism has lost a giant.

6. Cameroon shamelessly loss the organization of the African Cup of Nations 2019, which was taken from them because of exacerbated corruption and of course its shameless government which is applauded by the French.

7. The great Zimbabwean singer Oliver Mtukudzi, one of Zimbabwe’s most renowned musicians, joined his ancestors. Interviewed on Eyewitness, Tuku said that, “My music is about touching the hearts… never mind how old. If a baby is born today, she/he must be able to relate to my music.” Indeed, we are still relating and dancing to Tuku’s music.

8. This year, Bujumbura lost its title as the capital of Burundi. After almost 60 years of reign, plus the 40 years during colonial times as Usumbura, Bujumbura has now been relegated to economic capital, in favor of Gitega. Gitega was chosen to become the siege of power because of its central location, as opposed to Bujumbura which is located on the northeastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, almost on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

9. This year, Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the people of Sudan, after a 30-year reign. The people had had enough of his government which had been marked by corruption, human rights abuses, and which also led to the division of the largest country in Africa into two: Sudan and now South Sudan. There are of course foreign interests that played a major role in this, especially with all the oil fields in South Sudan. Al-Bashir was removed from power on 11 April 2019 by the Sudanese forces after months of civil unrest.

10. Algeria observed several days of mourning right around Christmas for the passing of General Ahmed Gaid Salah. This man was dearly loved, and perceived as the de facto ruler after the power vacuum left by Bouteflika. May his soul rest in peace.