Cablegate: Cndd Party Leader Nyangoma Speaks Critically Of


DE RUEHJB #0550/01 2131625
P 011625Z AUG 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: The National Council for the Defense of
Democracy (CNDD) Party leader and former Burundi National
Assembly member, Leonard Nyangoma met with Ambassador Moller
on July 31 to share his impressions of Burundi's democratic
progress and his opinions concerning President Pierre
Nkurunziza's administration. In his view, Burundi is in
danger of tumbling into an 'institutional crisis' due to
corruption, poverty and the persistent political stalemate
within the government and insists that the solution to the
impending crisis is the formation of a 'national unity'
government. Nyangoma asked the U.S. to exert pressure on
Nkurunziza's government to restore his position in the
National Assembly, and to encourage actions that will put
Burundi back on the track to peace and stability. In
response, the Ambassador asked that Nyangoma, as a Burundian
committed to justice and democratic principles, use his
experience as a past participant in the Arusha discussions,
to lead the major political players to the negotiating table
and work together in good faith towards solutions that will
benefit the country and its people. As the leader of a major
opposition party, Nyangoma expressed concerns over Burundi's
national elections in 2010 and the government's ability, as
well as the constitutional capacity, to conduct the process
effectively and to form effective opposition groups.
Nyangoma also advocates the installation of various
independent, international commissions to investigate
economic, political and human rights abuses committed by the
current government since its inception. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In a meeting on July 31 with Ambassador Moller,
CNDD Party head, Leonard Nyangoma, expressed his concerns
with the ability of President Pierre Nkurunziza's government
to lead Burundi's continued march toward democratic
stability. Nyangoma, who returned to Burundi on July 15
after 10 months of temporary refuge in France, cited
corruption, the lack of movement within the Parliament, and
poverty as the major components to a growing 'institutional
crisis'. In offering a solution to the political quagmire,
he emphasized the need for immediate dialogue between the
ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Forces
for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party and the major
opposition parties. Nyangoma hoped that the result of these
discussions would end in a new 'national unity' (coalition)
government focused on development and democracy. Nyangoma
opined that a national unity government was required and
justified by the impending political crisis, the lack of a
ruling party majority in the Parliament, and the lack of
enough 'qualified people' in the current administration. He
accentuated his point by claiming to be amazed by the
incompetent people chosen by President Nkurunziza to manage
state affairs.

3. (SBU) In recognizing his country's progress toward
political stability, Nyangoma admitted that democracy in
Burundi is an evolutionary ideal under construction on a
daily basis. In particular, in contrast to the environment
before his exodus to France, he noted that Burundian civil
society and the media are now able to speak more freely about
abuses by the government. But Nyangoma also suggests that
the specter of war still plagues the population, strengthened
by the lack of progress in the ceasefire process, and the
abundance of weapons among the Burundi people. The situation
is further aggravated by the inability of the government of
Burundi (GOB) and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL to negotiate in good
faith as dictated by the September 2006 ceasefire agreement.

4. (SBU) Nyangoma expressed concerns about Burundi's
upcoming elections in 2010, claiming no confidence in the
current administration's ability to effectively conduct the
process. Without being specific, the CNDD party head
suggested that various portions of Burundi's constitution
should be changed to improve the electoral process. He
further hoped for the creation of laws that would govern the
political opposition process, stating that it was necessary
to have a credible opposition for an effective democracy. In
response, Ambassador agreed that a credible opposition is
critical for any society but it is also important to have a
'loyal opposition' concerned with the future welfare of
Burundi and its people rather than exclusively with their own
personal gains.

5. (SBU) In Nyangoma's opinion, the continuing penchant for
corruption within the government is the major roadblock to
Burundi's political and democratic stability. By his
estimation, the government has stolen approximately 150
million USD that should have been used to stem the poverty

experienced by the people. He proposed that an international
commission, specialized in the investigation of economic
crimes, should be put in place to delve into suspected
improprieties by the current government since its inception.
He compared his proposal to the recent effort by a similar
commission that investigated the controversial sale of the
presidential jet. Nyangoma stated that the GOB needs the
trust of the international donor community and implied that
Burundi's financial and developmental partners had no
confidence in believing that resources were going to the
right places. The Ambassador retorted that Burundi's recent
Partner Roundtable, in which nearly 665 million USD was
pledged by nearly 60 nations, would not have been such a
success had the international community not had confidence in
the GOB to steer Burundi's economic and social agenda in the
right direction.

6. (SBU) Nyangoma also suggested that another international
commission be created to shed light on all suspected crimes
against humanity and human rights committed by the current
administration, such as the extrajudicial killings in Muyinga
and the arrest and prosecution of the suspected coup plotters
in 2006. Noted for his staunch allegiance to a strong
judicial process, Nyangoma questioned why Nkurunziza's
administration insists on separating justice from
reconciliation. In the spirit of the Arusha peace accords,
Nyangoma advocates the installation of a truth and
reconciliation committee to investigate the abuses of the
past. At his suggestion, the pillars of the committee's work
would support the identification of crimes, the procedures
for pardons, and the process for reconciliation.

7. (SBU) In closing, Nyangoma stated that the international
community has a responsibility to ensure that the GOB is
acting in the interest of peace and democracy. He asked that
the U.S. exert pressure on Nkurunziza's administration in
order to get the government back on the right track.
Nyangoma additionally asked for U.S. assistance in pressuring
the GOB for his reinstatement into the National Assembly, a
position he held before his departure to Europe. The
Ambassador expressed Washington's desire to help in any
capacity but also insisted that the principal political
players, who are very familiar with each other, act with
goodwill in their own negotiations and work toward
compromises that promote stability and a peaceful future for
Burundi's people. In response, Nyangoma explained that there
is not always straightforward and honest language, as in the
case of the Arusha talks, in the discussions between his
peers. The Ambassador suggested that Nyangoma would provide
a great service to Burundi by approaching those inside and
outside of government to help them learn to speak to each
other in the manner he experienced in Arusha. She
characterized Nyangoma as a 'patriot' to Burundi's people and
patriots work for the good of the country and not for
personal gain.

8. (U) Leonard Nyangoma has been a key figure in Burundi
politics for over 20 years. A teacher by profession, Mr.
Nyangoma became affiliated with the Union for National
Progress (UPRONA) party in the 1980's. He is among the
founders of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU)
party and after FRODEBU's victory in the elections of 1993,
Nyangoma was appointed the Minister of the Interior. In
April of 1994, Nyangoma deserted the FRODEBU party and
created the CNDD party. Although the party eventually split,
Nyangoma remained the president of the original CNDD faction
and participated in the Arusha talks in that capacity.
During the 2005 elections, Nyangoma was elected to the
Parliament representing Bururi with his CNDD party gaining 5
seats in the National Assembly. Fearing for his life after
being accused of harboring weapons and of participating in
the fabricated plot to overthrow the government in 2006,
Nyangoma fled to Europe. A few months later, on the grounds
of desertion, he was removed from the National Assembly.
Nyangoma returned to Burundi on July 15.

9. (SBU) Comment: Nyangoma is well-respected among the
people as a man dedicated to the democratic process as well
as to peace and stability for Burundi. It is surprising that
his discussions with the Ambassador did not focus on any
future efforts on his part to work within the current
political structure to mitigate the ongoing issues, but
instead his visit centered on the ineffectiveness of the
current administration and the need to form a new government.
There can be little disagreement with his analysis of the
current situation or perhaps with many of his suggestions for

putting Burundi,s democratic mission back on track; however,
Burundi would be better served by his leadership in bringing
the government and the major opposition parties to the
negotiating table. His political aspirations are clear and
it is speculated by political observers that the CNDD party
leader, through an alliance with FRODEBU and possibly the
PALIPEHUTU-FNL, could be the next president of Burundi. To
that end, it would be in Nyangoma's best interest to work
towards being part of the solution to Burundi's current
political woes rather than towards the detriment of
Nkurunziza's administration. End Comment.

© Scoop Media

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