PUBLIC AND POLITICAL LIFE IN BURUNDI: PAST AND PRESENT* IN MEMORY OF JAMES DANIEL PHILLIPS, A POST - US PEACEKEEPER IN BURUNDI IN 1986-1990 DAVID RAWSON Retired Ambassador of the United States of America In July 1966, I was having lunch in my apartment in Bujumbura when it was announced in the afternoon news that the King (mwami-na yaz. Kirundi) Mwambutsa was overthrown and power in Burundi passed to his son, Crown Prince Charles Ndiziya. At the same time, it was said that the previous constitution is being repealed and a new order is being established in the country. In fact, this meant the introduction of autocratic and then military rule, which very soon became predatory and repressive. Ethnic cleansing began in the country, and then a real genocide, which eventually led to a civil war.1 At that time, I was in Burundi on a research trip. The subject of my research was the relationship and interrelationship between traditional religion and political practice in Rwanda and Burundi. When Prince Charles came to power, the country imposed strict controls on all contacts with foreigners, severely limiting my ability to understand how its residents see the world around them, how this vision manifests itself in public life in Burundi, and how it affects their morals and national character. However, very soon purely theoretical research in the field of African politics gave way to real practice, since I joined the diplomatic service. 43 years later, I am asking myself the same question again: are there any special features in Burundians ' perceptions of the world that are unique to them, which have a decisive influence on the actions of their leaders and the behavior of ordinary citizens?2 To understand this, you first need to answer three other related questions. Is their political behavior simply a reflection of the tensions that prevail in many third world countries, or does it reflect their unique identity? Do the political realities of Burundi allow us to draw any ge ... Read more

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Japan Online
Tokyo, Japan
15.08.2023 (305 days ago)
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