If you fail to hon­our your peo­ple. . .

Lesotho Times - - Leader - El­iz­a­beth makumbi

modus “IF you fail to hon­our your peo­ple, they will fail to hon­our you; it is said of a good leader that when the work is Done, THE AIM Ful­filled, THE peo­ple will say, “We did this our­selves.” — Lao Tzu. Pres­i­dent Pierre Nku­run­z­iza’s an­nounce­ment to run for a third term has re­sulted in an erup­tion of spo­radic vi­o­lence to en­gulf Bu­rundi lead­ing up to their elec­tions in June 2015.

This is only one ex­am­ple in Africa of the lit­tle ef­fort taken by gov­ern­ments to put the needs of their peo­ple above their own de­sires. As Africans, there is a grow­ing trend of in­tol­er­ance of medi­ocre gov­er­nance and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers dis­re­gard­ing es­tab­lished laws be­cause of cor­rup­tion, nepo­tism and choos­ing the moral low ground.

In 1998, in Arusha, Tan­za­nia, Nel­son Rolih­lahla Man­dela on be­half of the states of the great lakes re­gions and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pated in the Bu­rundi Peace Ne­go­ti­a­tions to draft the Arusha Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion agree­ment for Bu­rundi.

The agree­ment exquisitely re­it­er­ates the im­por­tance of work­ing to­gether in unity to re­al­ize the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple. It af­firms aware­ness of peace, sta­bil­ity, jus­tice, the rule of law, na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion for the peo­ple of Bu­rundi.

It pro­motes the elim­i­na­tion of the root causes of the re­cur­rent state of vi­o­lence, blood­shed, in­se­cu­rity, po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, geno­cide and ex­clu­sion which de­bil­i­tates Bu­rundi from pro­gres­sively mov­ing to­wards po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

The aim of the agree­ment was to at­tain equal­ity, free­dom of the in­di­vid­ual, sol­i­dar­ity and so­cial jus­tice es­pe­cially amongst the myr­iad of eth­nic groups within their com­mu­nity.

In terms of the agree­ment as well as their con­sti­tu­tion, it is also ex­plic­itly recorded that “no one may serve more than two pres­i­den­tial terms”, a com­mon pro­vi­sion in any coun­tries legal frame­work to en­sure as­cer­tain­ment of egal­i­tar­i­an­ism.

Yet, on and be­fore 13 May 2015, Bu­rundi was shrouded in amidst of vi­o­lence due to an at­tempted coup d’état against Pres­i­dent Pierre Nku­run­z­iza who is in­sist­ing on run­ning for a third term of pres­i­dency. It has been al­leged that the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion to run for a third term is based on the pre­sump­tion that his first term was in­val­i­dated due to be­ing elected by par­lia­ment and not by the peo­ple.

This de­ci­sion was un­for­tu­nately sup­ported by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court of Bu­rundi. The elec­tions are sched­uled to take place on 26 June 2015 de­spite a fierce up­ris­ing from those op­posed to the pres­i­dent be­ing able to stand for re­elec­tion.

Thou­sands of Burundian refugees have fled their homes to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries re­sult­ing in many fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als be­ing dis­placed and forced into in­ad­e­quately equipped refugee camps. Cur­rently, in or­der to ef­fec­tively achieve po­lit­i­cal end the use of vi­o­lence, cen­sor­ship of ra­dio, tele­vi­sion sta­tions and so­cial me­dia net­works cou­pled with the in­tim­i­da­tion and ha­rass­ment of those against the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion has sub­merged the coun­try into vi­o­lence and to the brink of a civil war.

The events tak­ing place in Bu­rundi un­der­mine the Arusha Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion agree­ment for Bu­rundi strip­ping the coun­try of their fun­da­men­tal rights of free­dom of ex­pres­sion and in­for­ma­tion which are in­dis­pens­able com­po­nents of a demo­cratic so­ci­ety.

Given Bu­rundi’s tur­bu­lent past with eth­nic vi­o­lence in the past that re­sulted in an ex­ten­sive civil war be­tween the Hutu’s and Tut­sis makes Bu­rundi even more sus­cep­ti­ble to po­lit­i­cal tur­moil that could lead to the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other civil war out­break.

It is with great dis­may that Pres­i­dent Pierre Nku­run­z­iza, a leader who has so­cial in­flu­ence to en­list the sup­port of oth­ers to ful­fil a com­mon ob­jec­tive which should re­sult in the ad­vance­ment of his peo­ple, would make the de­ci­sion to dis­re­gard, do­mes­tic, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional poli­cies and laws for his own nar­cis­sis­tic, power hun­gry agen­das.

He has been en­trusted with this power by par­lia­ment and by his peo­ple but this same power has cor­rupted him to be un­able to see the is­sue of bla­tantly ig­nor­ing their con­sti­tu­tion and rules of law. The peo­ple of Bu­rundi had to use vi­o­lence as a means to en­sure their po­lit­i­cal will and po­lit­i­cal voice would be heard at the next elec­tion. It is th­ese con­tra­dic­tions that de­lay the process of Africa de­vel­op­ing into the po­ten­tial hub of not only busi­ness but so­cial pros­per­ity that the world has yet see. When the line be­tween what is wrong and right con­tin­ues to be blurred and the laws have lit­tle to mean­ing and so­lu­tions then the op­pressed have lit­tle op­tion but to re­volt.

There should be more op­tions read­ily avail­able to the peo­ple such as leg­isla­tive ad­vo­cacy which al­lows po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, lawyers, of­fi­cers of the court and those who are strong-willed to see the change in their re­spec­tive coun­try by lob­by­ing for the abil­ity to in­flu­ence de­ci­sions within po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, so­cial sys­tems and in­sti­tu­tions.

This form of ad­vo­cacy will al­low the re­spec­tive in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions to re­mind their cho­sen lead­ers of their rights, du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and be­come the voice to those who do not have the op­por­tu­nity to make public pol­icy changes.

It should be a para­mount right be­stowed on those who live in a coun­try where free­dom of ex­pres­sion, the right to vote and the right of free­dom of move­ment are en­twined in the demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion en­sur­ing that vi­o­lence is the very last op­tion to be used to re­solve dis­ap­point­ment in the elected gov­ern­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.