Cablegate: Burundi's Former President Warns of a Militaristic


DE RUEHJB #0571/01 2251502
P 131502Z AUG 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: During a meeting on August 6 with
Ambassador Moller, Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU)
party member and former Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye,
asserted that the National Council for the Defense of
Democracy - Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD)
party intends to hold onto power well into the future and
accused President Pierre Nkurunziza of progressively moving
away from a government based on democratic values towards a
military dictatorship more akin to the culture and past of
the ruling CNDD-FDD party. In contrast to his fellow FRODEBU
party member's focus, in a separate meeting, Pierre Claver
Nahimana presented his viewpoint to the political stalemate,
advocating for good faith dialogue between Nkurunziza and
opposition factions in allowing the government to continue
working for the welfare of its people. Both Nahimana and
Ndayizeye attributed Burundi's political impasse to
Nkurunziza and his government's disregard of Burundi's
constitution and the key principles of the Arusha Peace
accords upon which the constitution was founded. Ndayizeye
and Nahimana further complained that President Nkurunziza is
becoming increasingly uncooperative due to the advice of
unknown counselors thought to be from the ruling party
CNDD-FDD's military wing. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In a meeting with Ambassador on August 6, former
Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye opined that the CNDD-FDD
is unwilling to work with opposition parties and intends to
hold onto power well into the future. The former president
surmised that the CNDD-FDD is actively marginalizing all Hutu
opposition as well as those parties predominantly
representing the Tutsi minority. Ndayiyeze stated that
President Nkurunziza and the CNDD-FDD party will never
cooperate with FRODEBU or the PALIPEHUTU-FNL. Ndayizeye
further asserted that Nkurunziza's government does not want
to implement the September 2006 ceasefire agreement with the
PALIPEHUTU-FNL. Ndayizeya explained that the FRODEBU party
was a political threat and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL was a military
threat to CNDD-FDD's future, particularly with respect to the
elections of 2010. Ndayizeye summarized his assertions by
saying that the leaders of the CNDD-FDD party come from a
military culture and do not have the experience nor the
desire to act democratically.

3. (SBU) Ndayizeye claimed that Nkurunziza is surrounded by
confidantes, unknown to Ndayizeye, who are imposing their
will rather than advising Nkurunziza on the affairs of state.
Ndayizeye speculated that these advisors are from the
military wing of the CNDD-FDD party which supported Ndayizeye
notion that Nkurunziza is replacing democratic values with a
military culture. The FRODEBU leader lamented that the
ruling CNDD-FDD party would rather reward good militants
rather than using Burundi's educated loyalists to help manage
Nkurunziza's government. He emphasized the need for a nation
to have an army rather than having armies for political
parties. Ndayizeye believes that Nkurunziza has eyes only
for a military that will fight for the President and
expressed his concern that Nkurunziza could become a dictator
led by the military in much the same fashion as was
detrimental to Burundi's stability in the past.

4. (SBU) In addressing Burundi's political impasse,
Ndayizeye said that the government lacks the will to overcome
the stalemate. He claims that the solution is simple --
President Nkurunziza should respect Burundi's constitution
and the Arusha Peace accords upon which the constitution was
founded. In addition to Nkurunziza's departure from the
constitution, the former president insisted that Nkurunziza
refuses to commit to dialogue with other political factions
and Nkurunziza's action are running counter to national
reconciliation, both significant priciples brought forth from
the Arusha accords. Ndayizeye asserted that Nkurunziza does
not have the ability to control his cabinet nor does he have
the complete support of the National Assembly or his ruling
CNDD-FDD party.

5. (SBU) Another influential FRODEBU party leader, Pierre
Claver Nahimana, echoed the sentiments of former Burundi
president Ndayizeye by emphasizing the mismanagement of the
Arusha Peace accords by Nkurunziza's ruling CNDD-FDD party.
Nahimana listed respect for political liberties, good
governance, and power-sharing, without exclusion, amongst the
parties as the key principles being eschewed by Nkurunziza's
administration. Nahimana claimed that the CNDD-FDD party was
rejecting the Arusha accords during the September 2006
ceasefire talks with the PALIPEHUTU-FNL and and only accepted
the Arusha principles by force. Nahimana opined that it is

critical that all of the political factions enter into
dialogue, in the spirit of the Arusha accords and the
constitution, to create an environment of political stability
otherwise no positive progress can be made toward the welfare
of Burundi's people.

6. (SBU) In concluding his remarks to the Ambassador,
Nahimana questioned whether there is any political will
within Burundi's National Assembly to negotiate an end to the
current political impasse. In defending his party, Nahimana
explained that the political objective of FRODEBU in the
National Assembly is not to block progress but rather to
influence the government to take action and move forward. He
claimed that FRODEBU will continue to exert pressure on
President Nkurunziza to seek dialogue among all of the
political factions and to abide by the constitution.

7. (SBU) Comment: Each of the three FRODEBU party members
who shared their views with the Ambassador expressed the
common goals of good faith dialogue with President Nkurunziza
as well as respect for the Arusha Peace accords and the
constitution. The differing focal points of their
discussions and the disparate methods of their delivery;
however, calls into question whether FRODEBU will ultimately
be able to speak as a single opposition voice. Contrary to
FRODEBU party leader Leonce Ngendakumana's accusatory and
hardline approach to President Nkurunziza's administration,
Nahimana espoused cooperation and compromise to prevent
Burundi's progress from being stymied. Political observers
have speculated that Ndayizeye, who is still a popular and
influential figure in Burundi and who was jailed in 2006 by
Nkurunziza on suspicions of plotting a coup, is seeking
personal revenge against the current administration and the
CNDD-FDD party, and may have his sights on the presidency
once more. If President Nkurunziza decides to have a
dialogue with his major opposition party, he may find it
difficult to determine who is playing FRODEBU's cards. End

© Scoop Media

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