I’m supposed to be reading for my final undergraduate exams. But thoughts and pictures of what has been unravelling in nearby Burundi have drawn all my attention from exams. Reading about and watching the grotesque graphic scenes from Burundi has been very disturbing. After all I am an Economics students and we hail from one common trading bloc that is East Africa Community.
Burundi is burning.
Forget about Syria for a moment. Burundi, recently ranked second in the list of unhappiest places to live in according to a study, the World Happiness Report 2015, is on the brink of a decimating civil upheaval. Reason? President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose Constitutionally-mandated two 5-year terms came to an end sometime early this year has clung to the position for a third term and people’s adamant refusal for his continued stay have been met by military retaliation. Nkurunziza has gone ahead to make the absurd claim that his first term in office does not count because rather than being voted in by a democratic countrywide people-vote back then, he was appointed by Parliament.
A nation historically plagued by political volatility is on a quickfire meltdown that is rapidly escalating into a full-fledged civil war punctuated by mass murders, abductions and police brutality.
What can we do for them as Africans? Do we expect the West to come chip in for us? The same west that we’ve derided and accused of meddling in African affairs when we can readily offer African solutions? Do we expect the Hague-based International Criminal Court to come act with gusto after we’ve successfully been able to paint them in bad light as being pro-West and being after political interests of continuing the neocolonialism agenda?
The most saddening bit with Burundi’s situation are the neighbours and other African countries that are supposed to come to their rescue. The African Union is the body immediately placed with a responsibility to come to Burundi’s rescue. But what do we expect from the likes of Paul Biya, Idriss Deby, Obiang Nguema, Ali Bongo, Eduardo dos Santos, Robert Mugabe and Yahya Jammeh? Closer home, Yoweri Museveni is a prick who has been in power for 30 years and has no moral standards to woo Nkurunziza to step down. The more heralded neighbour up north Paul Kagame is also towing the well-beaten path of African strongmen not seeing ‘leadership’ in other people except themselves and as such he won’t want to be judged on advocating for strict adherence to Constitutional term limits that he is clearly not a disciple to. New members Salva Kiir is mired in a quagmire of political tensions too. That leaves us with only Uhuru and Magufuli. The case with the Kenyan president is curious since it is difficult to tell whenever he is in Africa. Someone said Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a journeyman! (Sorry, I digressed) And even if he was available, a friend said that you ‘Don’t expect those who got to the top riding on hideous backings to play impartial referees in a synonymous theatre’. As for Tanzania’s president, we don’t want to speculate on#WhatWouldMagufuliDo but we are all eyes waiting to see if he acts or he is gonna join the arena of spectators and await aid from the UN, US and Europe.
We will keep asking what the West is doing for us. For Burundi. But we Africans are not babies who must be told what to do all the time. We cheer the mediocrity of the AU when they rally behind a cause pandering to inexistent patriotism yet all they do is to defend murderers, kleptocrats, kakistocrats and petty thieves.The reason they so much want Africa to pull out of the ICC so that they can kill like Nkurunziza without accountability.
We can’t on one side of our mouths dismiss the West and ICC and on the side call for them to act in situations such as Burundi. This is the time to show the world that we can readily provide African solutions for African problems. And if we are not going to succeed in this then we should humbly swallow our ‘We Are Sovereign’ pie.