Burundi: When and how would Burundi be equipped with a truly national army and police? (Second part)

Burundi: When and how would Burundi be equipped with a truly national army and police? (Second part)
We saw it in our previous edition; the composition, organization and functioning of the Defence and Security Corps have always been among the key elements at the base of the cyclical crises that Burundi has known instead of being solutions. The army and the police have always been instruments of power (to gain access to it and to stay there). In this case, these bodies automatically cease to be professional and truly national because they end up serving the interests of employers or groups of people. The question at hand is how Burundi would manage to have an army and a police force which scrupulously respects the constitution and the regulations which govern them without meddling in politics.
Before arriving at the proposal of the solutions, we wanted to question our ancestors to have a global view of the organization of the army during the colonial period because before this, this body was formed by the warriors of the Mwami or baganwa, considered the national army.
Our sources tell us that between 1949 and 1962, there were no armed forces belonging only to Burundi, the territorial guard was a mixture of Burundians, Congolese and Rwandans under the command of the Belgian colonizer. These elements could receive transfers or missions to go to one or the other of the three countries.
It was in 1962 that a national army was set up under the command of the Flemish Verwanen. The latter will remain at the head of this nascent institution until the arrival of Thomas Ndabemeye, the first Burundian Chief of Staff. On November 22, 1963, a national gendarmerie of Burundi was created, still commanded by a Belgian colonist. He will be replaced later by a Burundian named Mahembe, according to our sources.
Recruitment was made on the basis of size and physical strength; which excluded people of short stature. These criteria set by the Belgians are, according to some analysts, the basis for the exclusion of a certain category of people. The colonizer who had established the criteria for distinguishing between Hutus and Tutsis (false criteria), had a specific objective: to revolt the Hutus (who had a numerical majority), so that one day they would exterminate the Tutsis (so-called minority to the point of digital view). A plan that succeeded in Rwanda in 1959. The upheavals of the administration by excluding the Hutus deemed incapable by the settler were also one of the catalysts.
There were still few military and gendarme units in Burundi. For example, the current Camp Muha dates from the colonial period. It was called Camp Bodwin. This unit was the second rifle company. The unit commonly known as the UGL which now houses the military police was the Armed Forces Base. She was known as the first lake platoon. The present Higher Institute of Military Cadres, Iscam, was called the School ( Ecole) . In Gitega, the current Battalion, long known as a commando camp, was the third commando company. In Ngozi there was the Fourth Rifle Company while in Bururi there was an instruction center called CI.
At the level of the gendarmerie, there were only the current Camp Buyenzi and the mobile group which was also the loyal guard, a unit which was in the former DCA in Kamenge (now BSPI: Special Brigade for the Protection of Institutions).
This is roughly the information gathered from our sources; historians have not given much thought to this subject in relation to military organization.
To avoid the excessive politicization of our Defence and Security Corps, should recourse be had to the establishment of a common regional force which would intervene in the event of a slippage in one of the member countries? Some see it as one of the solutions even if the practicality would be problematic when the long-desired regional integration has not succeeded.
URN HITAMWONEZA’s mission is to propose a possible solution to this problem when we have finished seeing how the various regimes that have succeeded in power in Burundi have succeeded in making the Defence and Security Corps their tools to conquer power and keep it even in violation of the law.

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