“If you hav-ant kissed a French man, zen you haven’t kissed at all!”—a favorite quote that I’d rather not forget from a very funny French man (And for the record, it seems I haven’t been kissed at all.)
“A series of negative shocks are adversely affecting Burundi’s economy. Headline inflation reached 25 percent in March owing to one-off increases in rents and utility tariffs and continued high food and fuel prices. Budget support from development partners has declined, limiting the government’s ability to maintain public spending levels. Revenue performance has been disappointing, and economic growth is likely to reach only 4.2 percent in 2012, significantly lower than originally expected. The uncertainty in the external environment owing to weaker growth in trading partners, lower aid flows, and high oil and food prices add downside risks to the economic outlook.”
-Statement released at the close of the IMF’s latest mission to Burundi.
Today, the expected polarisation after the Gatumba massacre has not materialised. On the contrary, there has been a clear decrease in violence over the last few months. That’s true for violence from non-identified armed groups, as well as for the disappearances and killings which are part of government repression. Within the CNDD/FDD, the military wing seems to be losing ground. The most obvious indication this was the election of Pascal Nyabenda as the new president of the party. Most observers see this as a strong indication of the demilitarisation of the party summit. Burundian Civil Society remembers Nyabenda as the MP who was very active in the installation process of the independent national human rights commission led by Frère Emmanuel Ntakarutimana. More sceptical observers consider Nyabenda’s election as a non-event: do the generals need the party to coordinate their actions and to plan their strategies? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean the CNDD/FDD isn’t changing.