Burundi: President Evariste Ndayishimiye releases the imbonerakure to unclog Burundi’s jails that are full to smack.
By Decree No. 100/041 of March 5, 2021 on pardon measures, President Ndayishimiye granted a presidential pardon to 5,255 prisoners. The question some should ask is how many political prisoners are on this list. Everyone expected that CNL members improperly imprisoned before, during and after the May 2020 elections would be the first to benefit from the presidential pardon of Evariste Ndayishimiye. They have committed no crime; all are accused of endangering the internal security of the state, an accusation common to all political opponents.
Since the cnddfdd power had been given what it wanted: to stay in power at all costs, President Ndayishimiye should think twice and release those innocent people who are just in jail because he wanted to sit in the presidential chair. Despite the arrest and imprisonment of many CNL members, Evariste Ndayishimiye and his cnddfdd party lost these elections; they had to change the results to be declared victorious. Perhaps the military clique imagines that releasing these CNL members would amount to admitting that they were jailed for no good reason. They ignore that the country’s image depends on it. This is what the countries of the European Union had recommended before the end of last year to President Evariste Ndayishimiye (free political prisoners) so that they in turn resume direct aid to the government. He had promised it, but the implementation was met with a categorical refusal by the hard wing of the cnddfdd led by Prime Minister Marshal Allain Guillaume Bunyoni. The dossier for resuming cooperation with the EU, which the Minister for External Relations and Development Cooperation thought he could close with February 2021, is being thrown in the drawers. What does President Ndayishimiye and his team gain by keeping innocent people in prison and depriving themselves of the aid that should alleviate the misery of Burundian citizens?
It is then clear that by consulting the lists of those proposed for the presidential pardon, more than 99% are members of the cnddfdd imprisoned for various crimes, especially cases of theft or various acts of violation of the rights of the man. Here you should know that for the 1% which may concern non-members of the cnddfdd, it is necessary to distinguish an act of putting them on the lists of those who must be released, from another act of removing them from prisons. This last act is by no means certain. The most fragile example is that there are still people in prison today who had benefited from a presidential pardon during the time of former President Pierre Nkurunziza. There are also people who remain in jail for years after winning cases. Why not start with these? Nameless injustice. And Ndayishimiye and his clique dare to talk about « parent government ». A criminal parent who kills some of his children.
The purpose of this presidential pardon is visible. Just unclog Burundi’s prisons which are bursting at the seams. People are running out of space, they are piling up like sacks of cassava, with the COVI-19 pandemic now hitting the already open doors of penal houses. Without going into too much detail on the numbers, prison by prison, almost all the prisons in the country are at least 300% full.
The cnddfdd military clique then found a way in their favour to unclog these prisons: free some of their members. The majority of these people have files related to theft and minor human rights violations that sometimes require fines. President Ndayishimiye has already announced that those who should be affected by his pardon will not come out without paying back what they stole or paying damages for what they damaged. The military clique then agreed with the members of their party to reimburse this money (within the party or by membership fees) for these people to be released from the prisons as quickly as possible; a way to show their attachment to their members so that they can once again vote for them in the next election. Here is the game of the cnddfdd which is behind this presidential grace.
URNHITAMWONEZA once again calls on the Burundian people to understand that the power of Evariste Ndayishimiye views the Burundians in different ways. Only members of his party have the rights recognized to Burundian citizens; all the others are people to be slaughtered, imprisoned or driven into exile as if the country does not belong to them. It is up to all of us to free our country from this leadership which only divides the people in order to remain in power while the country remains cut off from the rest of the world; which keeps the people in nameless misery. The members of the cnddfdd should also know that the fight is theirs because there will be no peace and development for them alone. We must muster our energies and fight together to find unifying leaders who care about the well-being of all the sons and daughters of the country without exclusion. This is the only key to peace and development for all.
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