Burundi stands at a crossroads with the upcoming elections likely to tear the CNDD-FDD party into parts. As Burundian go to the polls in May 2020, the country risks relapsing into broad internal infightings within the CNDD-FDD Party over a number of unresolved issues within the party. President Nkurunziza is causing an implosion in the CNDD- FDD party and strong CNDD-FDD cadres have been tearing strips off each other since Pierre Nkurunziza became leader.
However, Pierre Nkurunziza is lucky; none of the political parties and armed factions in Burundi appears to have the resources or manpower to challenge Nkurunziza’s hold on power at the moment. If the region and international community don’t pay attention for issues taking place in Burundi, the country could take a turn for the worse. Alternatively, if the region and the rest of the International community opt for peace and political inclusivity, there is a strong likelihood they will be able to usher it in.
Nonetheless, the European Union has recently issued another round of sanctions. However, many people expected that this time around, the EU would have considered expanding the focus from individuals guilty of human rights abuses to those obstructing the democratic process. Regime heavyweights such as the Inspector General of Police Guillaume Bunyoni, the Intelligence Chief General Gervais Ndikobuca and other Generals from the plaine de l’imbo like Steve and Silas Ntigurirwa who have fallen out from grace could be targeted.
But there is a deeper problem. While some diplomats and states are divided in the case of Burundi, majority suggests that they should be mechanism to build consensus around the electoral process.
One would ask, how much damage to the international community’s credibility and leverage will it make if they back down now and throw their weight behind the new government or just say nothing at all? Again, at a certain point in time these conversations will be moot, as the electoral process gains momentum. The real question is: How can we avoid an outcome of 2015 political crisis and attempted coup in Burundi, when the international community was kept out of elections and the polls ended up deeply flawed?
The infightings in CNDD-FDD are caused by President Pierre Nkurunziza, who pitted one faction against the other as the CNDD-FDD cashiered its cadres to safeguard him. Majority within CNDD-FDD are of the view that any successor who will be picked by Pierre Nkurunziza the current president will be his protégé and there too much fear that the dauphin will lack adroit skills as Pierre Nkurunziza, hence the sense of rudderlessness and incoherence in the party.
The infighting raises questions about the future of Burundi and it may weaken further the deteriorating economy. President Pierre Nkurunziza wants to have the safe key, which is the key to party funds and this may generate into conflict of interest in the near future.