Burundi: Belgium has a great historical responsibility in the killings and genocides in the region of the great lakes (Second part).

Burundi: Belgium has a great historical responsibility in the killings and genocides in the region of the great lakes (Second part).
We are continuing our approach to show Belgium’s share of responsibility in the ethnic conflicts which undermine the sub-region in general and Burundi in particular. Today we will insist on the upheaval of the traditional administration to establish an administration in their favor, which respects the orders of the colonizers without any resistance. By dismissing the existing administration, Belgium suddenly created a dispute between people, believing that there is a category that is not able to lead compared to another while on arrival everything was in order. This is the origin of the hatred of the Hutus towards the Tutsis; ethnic groups created by the Belgians in its « divide and rule » policy, what they called ethnic groups, being social classes that lived in complementarity in total harmony.
Let us then come back to the details of this upheaval of the administration by the Belgians. We reproduce for you the writings of Tharcisse Songore under the title « Burundi under Belgian administration »
On their arrival, the Belgians adopted the system of indirect administration inherited from the German occupation. That is to say that the traditional administrative structure made up of the King (Mwami), Chiefs (Baganwa) and Sous-Chiefs (Batware), the Belgians superimpose their own structure which will undergo some modifications over the 46 years of their presence in Burundi.
From August 21, 1925, date on which the Belgian Parliament votes a “framework law” linking Ruanda-Urundi to the Belgian colony of Congo, Ruanda-Urundi becomes a Vice-Government of the Belgian Congo. Thus, from that date and for a long time to come, the Belgian administrator of the trust territory carried the title of Vice-Governor General of the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi, Governor of Rwanda-Urundi.
He was assisted by the Resident of Urundi and the Resident of Rwanda, who were in turn supported by territorial administrators. After the administrative reform initiated in 1929, Burundi was organized into 18 territories, each territory comprising two chiefdoms, traditional political and administrative entities
With colonization, the traditional role of chiefs consisting essentially of paying homage to the King, raising armies to defend the integrity of the Kingdom in the event of war and ensuring the harmonious coexistence of its subjects, in particular by settling the many palaver related to livestock and landholdings, this role has undergone a fundamental change. From now on, the traditional authorities must meet the needs of the colonial administration in terms of tax collection, census of the population, mobilization of the same population for forced labour (chores) of collective or individual utility.
From 1923, Resident Pierre Ryckmans envisaged a reform of the traditional administrative organization to make it more efficient in transmitting orders and directives from Belgian administrative agents to the population. The need for this reform was dictated by the following observation: the country was divided into a large number of chiefdoms without defined geographical limits (133 chiefdoms in 1929); the authority of some chiefs extended over landlocked estates in territories dependent on other chiefs; some leaders were incompetent and unfit.
The objective of the administrative reform will therefore be to regroup administrative entities into larger, more viable entities, limited by natural topographical landmarks: rivers, hilltops, etc. The reform will also remove incompetent and / or unworthy leaders.
In 1929, administrative reform was at the top of the political program of the Belgian authorities. While the criteria for the regrouping of chiefdoms were well defined and objectively verifiable, some of the criteria which should lead to the maintenance, promotion or dismissal of a chief were undoubtedly subjective. An investigation was carried out in this context. The leaders were judged on the basis of several criteria, including their degree of culture and openness to European civilization, their origin and their way of exercising command. Chiefs who had received some education at the German school or had attended official schools set up by the Belgians from the start of their mandate were considered good.
The authorities attached to traditional ritual practices, qualified as pagan and incompatible with European civilization were disqualified.
The criteria which prevailed in the choice of leaders were undoubtedly origin and aptitude to command. From this point of view, it should be noted that the prejudices of the Belgian authorities concerning the innate aptitude of the Baganwa and the Batutsi to command and, on the contrary, the natural tendency of the Bahutu to let themselves be dominated were fatal to the participation of the Bahutu in power. .
These prejudices were recorded in the administrative reports of Belgian agents such as that of J.M Detscheid, Territorial Administrator in Bururi in 1929, who affirms: “It is certain that the Batutsi are more intelligent, equally indifferent, more brutal and more energetic than the Bahutu; their authority comes a lot from these qualities and even from these flaws … Placing an « intelligent » Muhutu at the head of a chiefdom is always risky in advance. »Gahama p.81. Pierre Ryckmans, Resident of Urundi adds: “The Batutsi were destined to reign, their presence already ensures them, over the inferior races around them; considerable prestige; their qualities and even their faults further enhance them (…). They are extremely smart, judge people with infallible certainty; move in the plot as in their natural element. Proud with it, distant, in control, seldom letting themselves be blinded by anger, dismissing all familiarity, numb to pity and a conscience that scruples never torment. No wonder the brave Bahutu, less clever, simpler, allowed them to be enslaved without making a gesture of revolt. « 
This administrative restructuring will be completed in 1945, and the established administration will remain functional until the eve of independence.
URNHITAMWONEZA recognizes that Belgium has ignored the recommendations of the League of Nations by overturning a well-structured administration accepted by all and established another after having sowed ethnic-based divisions within the population who lived in harmony. Belgium is therefore at the origin of these recurrent ethnic conflicts in our sub-region. It is also not excluded that he did not continue to stir them up in one way or another after independence until democratization. With the ‘’one man, one voice’’ ’electoral system, in our countries where illiteracy rates are high, the numerical majority will always dominate; and unfortunately, with a low level of understanding of democracy, the tendency will always be to want to eliminate the opposing minority. Hence the killings leading to genocide that we observe in Africa. Belgium should therefore do the mea culpa and be prepared to pay one day for the damage it has caused in Burundi and other countries in the region.

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