Opinion: The Growing discontent within the CNDD-FDD establishment threatens the dysfunctional and corrupt political system built by President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The current trend of political events in Burundi seems complicated and tending towards the slide.  Political observers assess that Pierre Nkurunziza is determined to remain in power come 2020 elections. However, majority believe that his rule has totally shifted from broad-based  Arusha accord to patronage based and personal, with his family and clique at the centre.  Pierre Nkurunziza controls key institutions, including the army and police that guarantee his political survival. His ruling CNDD-FDD party dominates all levels of the state.  He has weakened opposition parties, thrown the Arusha peace accord in dustbin hence weakening the already inexistent political parties and civil society that lacks the organisation, money and political space to have a say or win at the ballot box.

 Behind scenes, Pierre Nkurunziza has neutered internal opposed groups within the CNDD-FDD and remains entrenched as party head giving command and instructions to Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye a.k Never.  General Evariste Ndayishimiye like majority of CNDD-FDD top echelons  are from  a humble family back ground though many have enriched themselves  and still fighting more to gain power and money.  

Losing legitimacy and Command

Although President Nkurunziza has been untroubled by opposition parties operating from abroad, there are undisputable signs that he is losing popularity within his party and within the rest of the Population.

Thus far, within his party they are many candidates vying for posts and mobilizing behind scenes and each is trying to secure support from the army, Intelligence organs and police.   CNDD-FDD cadres like Pascal Nyabenda, Evariste Ndayishimiye and Joseph Butore considered as a technocrat and moderate compared to the rest, are already fixing their muscles eyeing for eventuality to contest for the top job.   In regards to political reforms paving way for the transition, Nkurunziza’ government has neither established the commission for reforms as agreed by Arusha peace accord nor tabled a comprehensive constitutional reform,  instead,  he  has unilateral  crafted and passed separate bills that favours his government but falling far short of expectations.

Failure to Managing Interests and Expectations

The CNDD-FDD is a force bound not by ideology or policy but essentially by ambition and patronage.

As yet, however, there has been no broad conversation about what a transition might look like. The combination of marginalised groups’ expectations, potential intra-elite jockeying for spoils and the absence of a clear succession roadmap means that the incumbent’s unexpected death potentially could prompt violence.

Fuelling these concerns is the lack of an obvious successor.  Pierre Nkurunziza has not groomed an heir at least not openly. Nor does his family and clique, which likely will seek to control succession politics, appear to be united.   CNDD-FDD Secretary general whispered among contenders is reported unhealthy suffering from chronic diabetes and is a prone for high blood pressure since the CNDD-FDD guerilla war.

Pascal Nyabenda who is rumoured to be groomed by Pierre Nkurunziza does not sit well with many senior military officers, and those in other security apparatus and is regarded by many behind corridors as an ‘’empty tin civilian’’.

Pierre Nkurunnziza’s wife also can’t be ruled out in the Quest for power and has over time crafted a powerful network of allies and a reputation as a savvy political operator but doesn’t enjoy much popular appeal or establishment support.

Fixing an already broken egg!!!

According to different views by political observers, the public appears to have little confidence that Pierre Nkurunziza’s departure will be followed by a clear constitutional transfer of power. Many expect that groups left out of power will confront the government. In response, the military might step in, most likely in support of the CNDD-FDD establishment or choose to support the mighty military officer to take on power. In such worst case scenario, the embattled Gen. Guillaume Bunyoni and likes of Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa, Gen. Godefroid etc without forgetting the head of SNR who is considered as the architect and pillar of Nkurunziza’s regime survival.

Public Sector in disarray

Burundi’s public sector is undermined by nepotism and corruption, and the government is unable to meet rising demand for more and better service delivery.

Health and education are among the public services that have suffered most, with poor quality and chronic absence of doctors and teachers.

Agricultural development also has suffered. Budget allocations do not match the rhetorical emphasis on that sector and key programs have failed to deliver results.

Survival at whatever cost

Looking at how things are evolving in Burundi, they are no defined system of governance. The government has opted mechanism to survive at whatever cost irrespective of the suffering of the masses.  Generals and top politicians are getting richer than the state, public coffers are empty as the government is heavily investing in purchasing ammunitions and motivating the brutal imbonerakure militia to keep the CNDD-FDD in Power. 

Burundi’ International partners and donors including neighbours are rightly concerned about the country’s direction.  The country faces the gradual fraying of order, security and governance. Discontent is growing, particularly among the political elite, against what many see as perpetual rule by CNDD-FDD that doesn’t tolerate genuine contenders. 

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