While he was visiting Somalia last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced [Burundi's President Pierre] Nkurunziza’s efforts to seek a third term as a move that “flies directly in the face” of the country’s constitution. On Thursday the State Department released a statement saying that it still recognized Nkurunziza as the legitimate leader of the country. The United States is currently providing $80 million a year in weapons, training and support to the Burundi military.So, why the State Department reversal of John Kerry's denunciation?
Clashes were reported Thursday in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, between rival factions of the military, a day after Major General Godefroid Niyombare, the former intelligence chief, announced the ouster of President Pierre Nkurunziza. In a broadcast on two local radio stations Wednesday Niyombare declared the coup d’état, stating, “The activists of Burundi have decided to take charge of the nation.”Here's the cauldron into which Kerry jumped;
Nkurunziza has ruled the deeply impoverished east African country since the end of a more than decade-long civil war in 2005, and there are concerns that the conflict over his third term could open up a renewed conflict between the country’s two main ethnic groups, the Hutus and the Tutsi.
The civil war began in 1993 after the country’s first democratically elected Hutu president, Melchior Ndayade, was assassinated by Tutsi elements within the military. Members of Ndayade’s Burundi Democratic Front (FRODEBU) party responded by massacring as many as 25,000 Tutsi. Over the course of the 13-year civil war it is estimated that more than 300,000 people were killed.Of course, the comrades at World Socialist Web Site blame this on colonialism;
The ongoing ethnic conflicts between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis in Burundi, like those that produced a genocidal slaughter in neighboring Rwanda, are rooted not in ancient tribal conflicts but rather in the imposition of the colonial system on the African continent by the European imperialists at the end of the 19th century.It was all peace and brotherhood before that? According to PBS, it doesn't sound like that at all. Though Belgium's solution of racial identity cards to separate the two peoples surely didn't moderate the resentments. Which were, and should be no surprise to the comrades at WSWS.org, economic class warfare;
Hutus first settled in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa between five hundred and one thousand BC. Generally speaking, Hutus were an agricultural people who lived in large family groups.
The Tutsis, also known as Watutsis, were a nomadic people who began arriving in the Great Lakes region from Ethiopia some four hundred years ago. Eventually, the Tutsis settled amongst the Hutus – adopting their language, beliefs and customs.
But economic differences between the groups soon began to form. The Tutsis as cattle-herders were often in a position of economic dominance to the soil-tilling Hutus.Then came the Marxists from Europe....