Burundi: A Nation Beyond Parody

burwaRwanda has a conjoined twin, joined at the hip but twins that facing opposite ways. Their ways are inverted, but their actions affect each other in myriad ways. One of the biggest factors in the Genocide in Rwanda was the parallel volatile events in Burundi in 93, the death of Ndadaye, the subsequent chaos. If one were to make a generalised differentiation between Rwanda and Burundi, Rwanda was seen as more centralised with an all-powerful King, Burundi was more decentralised with Chiefs having power. So in Burundi you see the more free, relaxed attitude of frontier country as opposed to the stiff regulated life that has always characterised Rwanda. Burundians are free-thinkers, cynical of powerful people, laissez faire – live and let live, and above all humorous. Every Burundian is a comedian, I went to a function and a guy made me cry with laughter, I thought he was a comedian but they assured me “He’s just a regular guy, usual banter.” So it is ironic that Burundi is the most satirised country in the region, a joke beyond a joke, but no one can satirise Burundi better than the Burundian, it is a national art form. This humour saved them a genocide on the scale of Rwanda, the underlying factors are there; a tragic past, a poor uneducated population, cynical politicians willing to exploit, and above all population pressure.

Rwanda has humour but we use it differently, it is sardonic, visceral, full of more pain than humour, it is meant to elicit a bittersweet feeling and a slight sigh not a roar. At the heart of any Rwandan joke is cruelty of some sort: God tells a Rwandan that he can have anything but on the condition that his neighbour gets double, so two cars means four for his neighbour, so the Rwandan asked God to pull out one of his eyes, so his neighbour can have both eyes out. That is a Rwandan joke, sick, cruel, twisted and ironically triggers laughs in people who spend most of their days pulling out eyes of people metaphorically. The main jokes of Rwanda in the old days were riddles, wordplay, puns and oratory to shut up your adversary, what was left when our culture died was this bitter twisted sardony. Humour in Rwanda was used to divide, to spread hate, many of the presenters on Hate Radios were comedians. Jokes were all about differences, mistrust, causing strife, the punchline was “never trust.” So Burundi was a precarious situation that went from tragedy to farce, and just kept getting funnier and more absurd. Burundians get the joke, they live the joke, so to poke fun at them is pointless.

pnA billboard was removed just before I arrived, it had caused a stir in Bujumbura, it showed the President Pierre Nkurunziza on a cycling bike and dressed in Tour de France cycling shorts, with his genitals outlined by the tight shorts, you could see his dick basically, with his big smile. The IMF chief arrived in Burundi to talk about the rising economic crisis and corruption, the president slept through the meeting having been playing football and eaten too much. When the IMF man left he was given a poster of the Pres in his tight cycling shorts and huge grin, they were insulted when he threw the poster away. He is a man of the people, he reflects them in all their glory, his stories of lack of etiquette warm the hearts of his voters. To hear of your president arriving for a serious East African Conference in gumboots and taking them off because they are itching and stinking out the place, he reflects their past but not their aspirations, so he cannot take them to the promised land. Whether true or not, his voters don’t mind him sticking two fingers up to protocol. Most of the jokes are just true life situations; some officials were flying with Rwandair and walked into the VIP lounge bar and drank for several hours, when they were passed the bill they said “Rwandair will pay, they are the ones taking us, they have “received us.” In Kinyarwanda-Kirundi “Kwakira” to receive guests or to serve alcohol, they were shocked when Rwandair refused to pay.

Drinking as a national duty

brubeerBurundians take drinking very serious, I mean very seriously, it is your national duty as a Burundian to support Brarudi, the local brewery. In the 60’s Micombero, the then president said “these white men have done us the decent thing and opened us a brewery, the least we can do is drink it.” Burundi has 3 million less people, an economy 40% of Rwanda, but Brarudi outsells Bralirwa by far, Heineken group could sell their Rwanda operation but never Burundi. They are forever caught between remorse and regression, in the mornings you see them running the beer out of their blood, sweating out Amstel’s by the bucket. They drink steadily from 2pm as the Lakeside humidity kicks in, you get the same symposia, as the Greeks called drinking clubs. It is something corrupted in our culture, back in the day, boys would form milk-drinking groups, as they grow, the drinks get stronger. They seem to classify people in Burundi according to your alcohol intake
• The Pious – Bakizwa never drink, they are more pious than Catholics who uphold their sacraments but drink generously.
• Abidagadura – those who just drink socially but not excessively
• Abashingantaha – those men who have one for the road after work, though this can mean just a man, it means one for the road
• Abasamanje – You are now into dangerous territory, I asked repeatedly what it meant, they said AbaSM, SM – Sans Mange, without eating. They say “real men don’t eat food and drink, pick one, food reduces the room for alcohol in the stomach.” Then you hear a guy has done a 3-day SM, as close to zombie as you can get, they enter a parallel universe of alcoholic Zen wisdom, Socratic genius mixed with paranoid madness “shhhhhh can you hear that? God is telling me to go home to my wife before she thinks I’ve left her.”
• Abasafu – This is the lower level on the scale, these should be avoided at all costs. They get their name from a corruption of SAF in French – Sans Alcohol Fixte, those without a preferred type of booze, they drink anything. Some specialise in harassing people in a bar until you buy them a drink, they will hound you until you give in with a variety of tactics. One heard me speaking English and was repeating everything I said for 10 minutes until I bought him a beer to shut up. Not all Abasafu are low-class, you find a man working in a bank with; red wine, white wine, Bock, Amstell, Primus and Rugwagwa banana wine. You think he is part of a large group but he is alone, he drinks so much that one drink can’t do anything, he has to mix.
• Abatayekodi – translated he lost the PIN code to his own head, once you lose the code then you are useless you cannot access your own memory, so he’s just there. They are SM/SAF the lowest level, when one walks into a bar people run and hide, a person who doesn’t eat for days and consumes any form of alcohol for days, they are powered by ethanol not food.

A dream that died

rwagasoreAll over Burundi and Buja there are monuments done in a very kitsch way, cast cement sculptures of various contradictory heroes, to each his own; Ndadaye for some Hutu, Rwagasore for the some Tutsis. They are both monuments that wonder what would have happened if they had lived, so people heap dreams and illusions on these lost leaders. Prince Rwagasore was the designated heir who had a modern approach in the 50’s, he was the driving force for independence and nationhood. He married a Hutu woman he loved to signify national unity, and to show his fellow Tutsis “if I can marry one, then why not you?” He started the sporting craze that Burundians have to this day, he had athletics clubs for jogging, and football was also his thing. Today Burundi has 3 players in the premiership, Rwanda none. Rwagasore was killed by a Greek mercenary sent by the Belgians, Burundi’s history changed as forces and counter-forces fought for power. It is still the best hunting ground for the former colonisers, they could never let go. I saw a rich Belgian in a hotel bar holding on to hooker’s ass like it was his personal property, this was an apt metaphor for the HOLD you still see. Into this Vacuum came 3 men from within 5km of each other in Rutovu, in Bururi, in the Mugamba Mountains.

The Bagamba from Mugamba

In Burundi they differentiate between Tutsis, the Baganwa – Royal were considered a different race, as were the Bahima from Mugamba who were excluded politically but formed the core of the army. Few people have anything nice to say about this triumvirate “insweranyana” – they have sex with their calves, they would marry their favourite cow, said one. One thing they say is “they knew how to govern a nation!!” They were men of limited education, rash brutality and closed-minded. There was never the poverty there is today, people ate least ate 3 times a day. They were not angels, many of the short-cuts they took are still having consequences today. The CNDD top brass is the children of the 1972 crisis, the children of the 1993 crisis are still in IDP camps. The legacy of those early UPRONA days was a sense of nationhood, even though the pie was not equally divided, they all accepted each other as Burundians. The first of these was Micombero, a young officer who led a counter-coup in 1965, he massacred some 150,000 Hutus putting down a rebellion and tried to create a pseudo-communist state with the help of China. He was swept away in a coup in 1976 and died a young man at 46 in 1983. Micombero pushed too far, Bagaza tried to hold on, and Buyoya tried to let go of power in a way that preserved as much privilege as possible.

bujaToday Burundi is the butt of the joke, bottom of any index unless it is done alphabetically, it only ranks high in negative indexes. Yet there was a time when Burundi was considered an efficient modern state. They were ranking well in reducing child mortality, in maternal care, in education, in investment and they were held up as an example to Africa in the 80’s. You even see it today that despite falling standards the people are educated and have a good idea of a standard of living. As much as they tried to develop, the ghosts of the past were there, haunted by 150,000 dead, refugees massed in Tanzania, and social exclusion that caused inequality. No matter how clean the streets were, or how orderly it looked, there was a bubbling tension, and as much as the government tried to remove tribes from the conscious, it just couldn’t. The Ghosts of 73’ came back to haunt them in 93’ so today you have the refugees from 73’ ruling while the refugees from 93’ wait their turn. The problem of inequality is deep in Africa, especially this Great Lakes region, where population pressure wipes out any gains you make. You see the huddled masses in Kayanza, Ngozi, Gitega, pressed up against the road with nowhere to go, too packed, behind they are pushing and in front the cars are missing by inches. You see the bulging slums of Kamenge and Cibitoke, the promises they made them and the failure to deliver on them.

chaosOut of chaos comes order
I sat in Toxxxic, the most happening club in Buja and saw a scramble outside, being a curious idiot – I went to check and was shocked. A bunch of youngsters beating up a cop, they accused him of stealing a phone while pretending to arrest one of the group, he was begging for his life while being slapped against the wall. I must add at this moment that he was armed, armed with an AK slung over his shoulder, he never thought to use it, he dropped it to the ground and pleaded for his life. After a few more slaps they let him run off but he forgot his gun. “Wait!! You forgot your gun!!!” and they just left it there as they went to drink some more, 2 minutes later the gun was gone, someone picked it and ran. I imagine what would happen to you if you did that to a police officer in Rwanda, not even God could save you. This is what happens when you simply arm someone without mentally empowering then, they are just a coward with a gun. I was sitting in Karondo with the Samanges when they all got a text from the Govt asking them to hand in their weapons. They all laughed at the thought “they just handed out 10,000 guns the other day to their militia in the Kamenge slum, just in case.” So there is a delicate balance, the army is still regarded as mostly mixed but Tutsi, but the Police is Hutu. The Hutu government was suspicious of letting in Hutus who don’t support them, so they focussed on police and militia. The main problem is between various groups who claim to speak for all the Hutu, FNL, Frodebu, and the ruling CNDD, while the Tutsis avoid politics as part of a Grand Bargain.

The problem is the Grand Bargain is coming to an end, the deal that gave Hutu-Tutsi a 60-40 split has hit the skids. The law of diminishing returns, they steal too much, so the donors reduce their funds, so they have to steal a bigger proportion, the donors cut even more, so they steal even more. Then they can blame the fact that Tutsi have 40% of appointments and that they need to reduce that. It made sense to keep 40% to keep the civil service going during the transition, now they risk losing a lot of experience in the name of quotas. The scary thing about Burundi is that you wonder if it is Rwanda in another part of cycle, they were the Rwanda of the 80’s, a model African state, but now nothing new has been built, the chickens have come home to roast, and there are more chickens on the way. The irony is that the Tutsi Elite within an elite never let the Hutu run even a village council then gave them the country to rule, like giving a passenger the pilot-seat of a Jumbo-jet of a nation. One voter lamented “we have never ruled in history and we are making mistakes, but we will learn slowly.” If only events are so kind as to give time. People have dawned on the truth, that this is not about Hutu and Tutsi, this is about a powerful elite of both sides preserving their privilege at all costs, to the exclusion of all. “Once you take power, you become another tribe, the powerful – the rest are a threat.” Said a drunk sage. That is how the Baganwa became a separate race, the power ran in their veins.

They remain secretive

Outside one of the few new buildings in Buja are the words “They remain secretive” the literal translation of the motto of the ruling party CNDD, but it means “they stay loyal” and they need a lot of loyalty in this tumult. There are crucial events that will affect the Great Lakes region, the issue of extending the term limits to allow Nkurunziza to run again, the revision of the quotas allowed for both sides, the clamp down on other Hutu parties like FNL and Frodebu, and the continuing downwards slide of the economy. Burundi has become a Tanzanian colony, the CNDD leadership will need the support of TZ to survive, this will bring it  into conflict with Rwanda, and further isolate it in the East African Community. The party is arming militia, to attack its opponents, there have been over 200 political assassinations of opposition candidates in the last year, reports come out and no one bothers. Burundi is peaceful they say, don’t rock the boat. People find it hard to reconcile this picture with the image of a party led by a Bible-thumping soccer player. Still in the chaos there is order, the chaos theory – that many unstable opposing forces balance into an equilibrium of peace. If so then Burundi is very stable, they prefer their problems out in the open, not hidden away – so it was said that the Evil Warlord and wanted war-criminal Agathon Rwasa was my neighbour when I stayed in Kiriri, a posh suburb. All through the madness, they sing, they laugh, they drink, they make merry and sneer at those who judge. I saw more happiness and relaxation in Bujumbura than I did on the safe streets on Kigali, even with the menace of crime, there was more freedom by far. The fear element of Rwanda was not there, no one looking over my shoulder. In Rwanda you learn to live with Fear, it becomes your friend and when that Fear leaves you miss it, the Fear is what holds us together.

wayWithout a vision the people perish

One thing that is missing big time in Burundi is a vision; nobody knows where the country is heading, like a rudderless ship heading for the rocks. Rwanda has Vision2020, they reached for the stars but even if we fail we will hit the moon. Burundi is just tragic, no vision whatsoever. The short and long term plan seems to be to hold on to power for the sake of it, the same problem that befell the Hutu governments of Rwanda, they just celebrated power. Can the government produce a program for the whole nation to subscribe to, for donors to invest in, for the region to help? When you cross the border it is instant, even the Congo border-post in Gatumba is better than Burundi’s border-post which was being used by traders as a shop, a store and a kitchen. The immediate pressures make it hard for the CNDD to figure a long-term plan, so many ideas are Copy and Paste from Rwanda, rewind back our policies of 8 years ago and you see what is happening in Burundi. They are trying the ‘Doing Business” reforms like RDB, Coffee cup of excellence, many more but they are not doing it with any level of zeal that Rwanda has. Till then they will just party away, as the Titanic heads to the iceberg they pour another Amstel.

Burundi has way more potential than Rwanda, Gold reserves, cobalt, nickel, coltan, wolfram. Add to that the best coffee in the world, exclusively enjoyed by only the most discerning coffee-lover. They have a lake with trillions of liters of water, yet Bujumbura is often without water. The lake has some of the best fish in the world, I just had an idea to get an ice machine and import fish to Rwanda and the region. Palm oil is abundant, beautiful beaches, rugged mountains, it has everything you could want. And great people, truly loving and funny, no malice in their words, I banged my head on the entrance to a man’s house. “Imana yaremye ibizi, yaremye umututsi muremure azi ngo azagya yigonga umutwe, nanjye umutwa ndarwara ijosi.” God created but he knew each will have his own problem, the Tutsi will always bang his head, the Twa pygmy will have neck problems as he strains to see higher.”

So to the Basamange and the Basafu, I salute you.

May you keep drinking through these hard times.

Rama Isibo

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58 Responses to Burundi: A Nation Beyond Parody

  1. Vivantiane Binagwaho says:

    Some coments make sense others not.Our humor so called is a form of survival.Few even among the best dressed live comfortably. Individuals have more debts than earnings. Among the hutus few get a part of the cake.Chaos indeed. Out of it nothing good at all.In the middle of all towns especially Bujumbura thousands sleep in the street s.If we laugh and drink whenever we can its because we are afraid of TOMOROW

  2. Ntanakimwe says:

    Wow Rama, did a Burundian take your wife or something?
    You sure have a lot of animosity towards Burundi and its people.
    But the conjoined twins’ picture as an intro to your article pretty much sums it up…tabloid trash level writing made just so you can get hundreds of comments from trolls and idiots alike.
    Rest assured, I am not in the latter category but as a proud Burundian who lived in Rwanda for many years I felt the urge to say something for my people and yours as well. I can assure you the vast majority of Rwandese people do not share your borderline racist views as they view us as brothers who unfortunately shared the same sad history of hate and violence.
    Anyway, I will not waste my time here trying to debate with you as your tunneled vision most likely doesn’t allow you to see below your own bigotry.
    However, I will leave you with something to meditate on: in your ridiculous attempt at stirring conflicts between these two brothers, you have left out one major aspect which in my eyes deserves attention.
    Burundi has achieved what Rwanda has never managed to achieve after many failed attempts: we in Burundi are at peace with our own Burundian brothers from all ethnic groups and we are not at war anymore with each other. Even the most vilified rebel leader, Agathon Rwasa, is in Bujumbura and will most likely register his candidacy so that electors choose their leader in a fair and democratic way. We are not perfect and still have to get read of corruption, etc… but my friend Rome was not built in one day. Rwanda on the other hand has around 1 million people outside its borders vowing to get revenge and finish the job they have started in 1994. One day or another they will have to return to claim their share of that so cherished 2020 vision. Remember it only took the actual leaders 50 years or so to return and take over, all that while based in the unfriendly and rugged Uganda. How long do you really think it will take those self funded and joyful extremists located in mineral rich Congo to return to Rwanda? We will see how that goes and I wish that you will be around so you can provide us with your delightfully bigoted comments. But I will bet that you will most likely flee to Burundi and we will welcome you as usual since us Burundians do not hold animosity against our brothers. Karibu iwacu Mutama, Ntanakimwe 

    • rwandareview says:

      I just don’t buy this democracy lie you believe in. How is Burundi Democratic? It is not any more democratic than Rwanda, but less so. Peter ran unopposed in the last election, this time CNDD are making it hard to vote, the national ID program is their vehicle to rig. ID’s will cost $15 beyond the means of many, but CNDD voters get them free. When the UN rep offered to pay for the whole scheme, he was expelled from the country. Burundi is not peaceful, over 200 political killings according to HRW last year, there is likely to be a coup if the party tries to force a 3rd term for a very poorly-performing president whose priority is playing football. Just accept you have problems and try to solve them, I am very honest about Rwanda’s problems, you should be honest too

      • Ishim Darley says:

        Hahhahah looool You know what? I agree with you! Burundi is Not COMPLETELY democratic just like all the countries are but dude Rwanda is surely very far behind Burundi on the path that leads to Democracy…in fact I think it stopped somewhere…(You talked about being honest with Rwanda) but lol Rwanda has vision right???hahahhah I really enjoyed your article(*._.*)* bursting in laugh… By the way I do like Rwanda

    • proud burundian says:

      Thank you brother…umubwiye neza…

  3. Dany K says:

    Well said Isibo. In a frank way, without malice or condescension… We endure…. Sagamba Burundi…And I am not saying to celebrate the complacency or apathy that may seem to appear. I am saying it because after all these years, and everything the country has been through, there is healing, in a deep real way. Being hutu or tutsi is no longer the insult or praise it once was. It’s a fact. Being a party member on the other hand carries weight. Leadership is the problem and maybe it’s not. The woes of the country are no longer blamed on the ethnic other, rather, it’s the ruling other, the venal, greedy, vindictive other who currently holds the reins of power. I feel there are more calls for accountability because of that, more tolerance as well (let them eat a bit, their turn so to speak). The Hutu-Tutsi narrative has been demystified, gone and goneth. Things will change, they always have! We have our last four president’s in senate, not in jail, or 6 ft under or in exile, but in town. This ruling party will go, and will be replaced by another which hopefully will be better, bazogerageza, they will try…. It’s the way. In the meantime, Burundians will carry on, like my parents sending me to school after a night of gunshot and havoc (REALLY????), yes because WE MUST carry on, do our bit and be the Burundi we want to see. All I know is everytime I go home, there are more things to smile about than cry.

    • rwandareview says:

      I don’t think the ruling party will go, they are using their incumbency to solidify their power with militias. I always hear “this too shall pass” but will you be in a better position when it has passed? It is like a man who jumped off a 100-storey building and after 5 floors he says “So far so good!”

      • Dany K says:

        History is my only teacher, boss, and the trend in this country is everyone gets their time to play, then they go….. Four presidents….. Ex…… That should say something…….
        They’ll go just the way the others went……. Because it is a country that actually believes that nothing is eternal…… Who would have thought uprona would go, or frodebu? Everything will come to pass…especially if barundi are fed up with it….

      • Ishim Darley says:

        I like the way you say it …you don’t “think” -meaning that is an hypothesis-…well you might be right or wrong and like Dany K said history is the only teacher…. But there’s something you should learn about the comparison you have just made…there’s a saying in Kirundi “Bukebuke bushikana umusiba Ku mugezi”

    • N.E.W says:

      I also still remember the rebel attack in 2002 or 2003 in Mutanga Nord where We saw bombs dropping on Mutanga hills as we were at school(Lycée du Saint Esprit). As I got a lift from a friend whose dad came to pick him up, I was surprised that my dad did not ask me how I got home or how was it. Later, you know Burundians don’t fear at all. The next day, we went to school again as if nothing had happened. Jesus!!!

  4. Jahazi says:

    Very well written. For someone who doesn’t come from the area I no have a bit more insight about what goes on in Burundi

  5. Proud Burundian says:

    Dear Mr Perez Hilton ,
    “One of the biggest factors in the Genocide in Rwanda was the parallel volatile events in Burundi in 93, the death of Ndadaye, the subsequent chaos” : I mean really??? Now you are blaming the genocide on Burundi? Were the machetes that the interahame had provided by Burundians? Pathetic.. “You Rwandans” always need someone to blame when something is going wrong.. sad
    “This humour saved them a genocide on the scale of Rwanda”: Well well , arent we lucky that some of our brothers, cousins, friends told a joke or 2 to the aba assaillants to avoid being choped their head off… By the way , does it mean that if you were less stiff, humourless, arrogant and fun you might have avoided the genocide???I guess we have an answer to our 1st question above then…

    I find it harsh and insulting for you to say that Burundians have no vision, what do you know about Burundi? The one or two weeks you spent in “Kiriri” and sipping Aamstel at Toxic makes you an expert on the way we think or the way we have or do not have vision?Yes, the country is going through tough times but what country hasnt? Correct me if i am wrong but didnt it take you rwandans 37 years for you to return from exile (with the help actually of your neighbours Burundi and Uganda )? We have Our issues and we are and will deal with them at our own pace (might be less than 37 years 🙂 ) . If i were you, i would worry more about Rwanda: Ntugakure icatsi mujisho ryuwo murikumwe utabanje kuraba amasa yawe…Bavuga ayabandi ayabo bakayicarako…

    I will finish with a line from our Burundi Anthem : Uburundi bwarapfunwe ariko ntibwapfuye… This shall pass too

    • rwandareview says:

      Bravo, you have the right to your opinion as do I, it was not a New York Times report, or an IMF report with serious implications, it was just my humorous take on my visit. I assert that your humour helps cut the tension and helps you endure bad times. As for vision, can you show me anything to show otherwise? I didn’t see it, no sign whatsoever. This too shall pass, but after it passes will you be in a better position. Barundi are like a man who jumps off a 100 floor building, after falling 5 floors he says “So far so good”

    • Thank you very much 🙂

  6. MJ A says:

    ppfffff it s crazy how you guys always take your time to compare ur country to ours! well, this is envy! rwandese are pathetic with they so called genocide injury! i have never seen mean people like rwandez this shows how much u don t like your life and dont i understand why you take your energy to prove you are better than us and to criticiz us, u guys are so interested in us but we just don t care about u! and u need to know that you are not our model! When we are dreaming of a better devlopment we don t think about u! we think of other countries who are worthy of being taken as models! You over-etseem yourselves! We don t even talk about you and we will never! And i hate this articl its offenciv how can you dare talking about a president’s dick!?!? And i think you are not in burundian’s heart and mind! so, stop pretending you know what we need and our problems! You are the very wrong person to adviz burundians! Go to hell arogant rwandez! You are just animals which enjoyed killing each others and which are still hating each others even now! You are the example of bitterness, and lack of freedom…i can’t dream to live in your ugly country, or to be you! We can fix our problems without your fucking critism! You are not what we need! You represent nothing more then a sad country with sad people who think their sadness is seriousness! I LOVE BURUNDIANS AND BURUNDI! And i am happy and thank God that i am not a rwandez.

  7. Proud Burundian says:

    Indeed we all have the right to our opinions.. but my advice to you would be to air in public well reasoned opinon as people read what they find online and innacurate and imcomplete information does deform the youth and collective memory.I am not a journalist ( maybe you are not too), but from what i’ve been told a journalist always tells all sides of a story and stick to facts and not opinions. Calling a whole nation drunkards and narrow view is insulting.

  8. Andrew Mukozi says:

    “People have dawned on the truth, that this is not about Hutu and Tutsi, this is about a powerful elite of both sides preserving their privilege at all costs, to the exclusion of all ” is the most realistic line of all the well written article. Until the populace understand this fully, both in Burundi and Rwand in fact, will we always face the same “tragedies”.

  9. guesswho says:

    Proud burundian,are we not all?basokuru barayamaze ngo:uwikeka amabinga aba ayagwaye. the guy is just giving his personal views, maybe there is biaseness(Rama next time urafata frein canke bazokurasisha ya nkoho yawamusoda) but he did not kill any1 n sometimes u need some1 else to stir u to notice ur wrongs.before y’all shoot me naya nkoho wamusoda yasize, i m burundian as well but let s admit we got a long way to go. et pas la peine de t’en prendre au gars par simple fait qu’il ose contrairement à une vaste majorité! wamugani; bifate sport! on that note, cheers! #GiraAmahoro

  10. Ntanakimwe says:

    @rwandareview

    Hey maybe we are not as democratic as you are but at least we don’t send death squads across the globe to eliminate political opponents. And once again you failed to address the main issues facing Rwanda : the millions of self funded extremists in rich Congo, the lack of political alternative to Kagame since he alieanted anyone who could ever represent a real alternative ? Finally, that mess you guys created in Congo (Africa’s sleeping giant) trust me it will eventually come back and believe me you will again flee to Burundi as usual when their 75 milions population gets fed up with your hegemonic ambitions. But Ntanakimwe mutama, we will welcome you our brother as usual.

    • rwandareview says:

      just that u don’t know my writings but I have been very critical of events in Rw as well, good friends know I’m sincere. In Rwanda we use Burundi as a worst case scenario if you let democracy get out of control. Time will tell, I think Rwanda will calm down now into a peaceful state as DRC gets peaceful. Western govts used Rw in DRC then turned around and called them invaders when we have messages telling us to invade, no more adventurism, stick to Peacekeeping like in Darfur, CAR, S. Sudan, as part of UN. Let us just develop

  11. BornBurundian says:

    Really? I think you are not rwandese, just a blindborn who think he knows things, you dont even know who you are. You are lost, lost more than a baby in a forest. Find the path to the truth because you are just pitiful man who needs moral lessons.

  12. Ntanakimwe says:

    It is funny that you mention that because I read your blogs and articles many times and we also do share a lot of common friends in Rwanda as I lived there a significant amount of my life both pre and post 1994. I can tell you that Rwanda has been building a castle on sand since 1994 as the real issues that led to the Genocide were never really addressed since then. Even worse, you guys had an entire government and its army crosses into a lawless territory full of natural resources which in turn gave those unlimited resources to refinance themselves. On that you add the fact that your army was utilized by the west into a conflict which claimed closed to 8 million of your neighbors. I wish Rwanda all the best and really hope that obvious bubble full of trouble you are sitting on will never have to burst as I personally seen the results back in 1994. Unfortunately, you cannot simply ignore millions of your fellow country men abroad, especially when the only dream they cherish is to return and claims what they have called theirs from 35 years. Rwanda pre-1994 looks very similar to Rwanda post-1994, believe me as I was there; it is like you guys just flip a coin and whoever was on top is now at the bottom and vice-versa. Kagame being elected at 90% with no real opposition or so is just what Habyarimana used to do back in the 80’s. Successful Tutsi businessman building business complexes and beautiful houses in the city to develop it is what Kabuga, Mironko, Majambere etc… used to do back in the 80’s. All those houses in Kiyovu which are now occupied by the current Inteligencia used to be occupied by the Hutu inteligencia back in the 80’s. So to cut this short, the difference with Burundi though is that we realized what your leaders are blatantly ignoring for their own self interest: the other guys are about 80% of the population and one cannot simply ignore them; you have to find a inclusive solution so that all are allowed in the “game” if you want to call it that way. It will take time to build I acknowledge but at least we have managed to include everybody, something Rwanda is not near of accomplishing. For example to see that the Burundian opposition is considering presenting a united front and present Agathon Rwasa as their leader for the next election is in my view what is democracy: players from all political fields, ethnic backgrounds getting together for the common good of all Barundis. It reminds me of the time the extreme left, center left and center right political parties in France got together so they can counter the extreme right Front National as it was seen as a serious contender for the presidential seat; that is what is called real democracy. My friend the day when you will see them Kayumba, Ingabire, Twagiramungu, etc…. get together and present a FDLR candidate to run against Kagame is not in any foreseeable future in Rwanda. I do realize that FDLR is quite the extreme example but believe me, back in the 1990’s FNL/Palipehutu was pretty much considered by our Tutsi leaders the same way you guys consider the actual FDLR. However, look at them now sitting at the same table like the Barundi brothers that they are. To cut this short, Burundi has accomplished what Rwanda is unfortunately trying so hard to delay: looking at ourselves in the mirror, realizing that we are all brothers , forgiving each others for the wrong done to each others since the independence and understanding that Burundi is our land and we will need to work together to move ahead. Ariko Ntanakimwe mutama, I really hope you don’t learn the hard way as the genocide should have been able to teach you guys that, but if that happens karibu iwacu we are always ready to land a hand to a neighbor.

    • rwandareview says:

      erega namwe mwahunze Iwacu namwe, most of the Burundian refugees are now just economic migrants. Muruke gutukana, I just put up your insults to show how ignorant you are, let people laugh at you

  13. Kairu Ivan says:

    I travelled some years back to Buju with an aim on investing in the country but i was totally disappointed wen i reach there so called investment ministry, first the welcome was of the poorest class, i found i beautiful young lady playing music on her computer at around 10am, she looked at me as if i was from another planet. The next killer dis’pmet came up wen the person i was supposed to meet told me to wait as he was still in the meeting which later i learnt he was still at his home till 1pm when a friend called me that he saw the guy coming from his home. That was enough for me to caught my flight back home

  14. turataye umwanya says:

    Rwanda review or Rama I don’t know… Everything have been said in comments I believe. I just want to tell you I’ve read maaaany articles in my life and this was the stupidest so far which was actually interesting to know someone could be so dumb and still think he’s clever in this world I’m not trying to hurt your feeling but for God’s sake stop writing you’re gonna hurt your brain…Imana ikuzigame iguhe ico ushoboye gukora kidatesha umwanya abanyagihugu mugenzi!komera

  15. panafrica says:

    I am really confused about this article . Are you sure that you are an African ? Because the ignorance contained in this article is beyond what I ever heard or read coming from an African fellow … Or may be you were under substance influence when you wrote it… otherwise if you went to school , you waisted your money and your time … I don’t even know where to start to argue with you. Or maybe you can’t say nothing about Rwanda and you try to express yourself by talking about Burundi .But again ask around you and your fellow Rwandese before talking about nonsense … I don’t understand how what a leader likes can represent 8 millions people …. Read your history , talk to your elders and may be you will learn how to respect yourself … I am sorry to say this but even an inhabitant of the North Pole who never left his house knows better than you brother .
    PS: And to my fellow burundians , don’t fall in the same trap as him by talking about :”you Rwandese “. He doesn’t represent nobody , but himself….
    God bless you brother … and might God give you some wisdom …

  16. ni hatari says:

    I am really surprised when I read this rama’s article… let me ask u one thing. Have u been out of rwanda to see how rwandees really live, I don’t know about you but I have. I spent 4 years with many rwandeez and burundians. Let me tell u that I never seen a rwandeez walkin down the street mostly without his burundian friend. Why?? Because we love helping each other. That’s who we are. You wrote that “heineken ” can never outsell in rwanda more than in burundi. I won’t call it drinking. But I went to kigali in 2008 in bar a rwandeez can come drink his beer and then he leaves… even if he comes with somebody I dont think he can share with his friend but in burundi ?? OMG we share drinks as we share other things… listen I have a lot of respect for rwanda… u went throught a lot. But u need to keep in ur that Burundi’great country to live in. We have freedom, but u rwandeez u really don’t. Just I want to let u know that we burundians dealin with problems but what country in this world does not?? And please do not use cuss words when u talk about pierre nkurunziza. Even if I don’t like him very much, unless he gave me peace, and freedom… I can say what I want It won’t affect my life or my way of thinking, which I doubt, If i do it when I am in rwanda. Burundians and rwandeez are brothers and sisters, twagiye gusaba umugeni mu tqanda baramuduha. 3 years after baza kudusaba baraduha. Stop bullshittin on this…

  17. petero says:

    I just like this piece. Am not murundi but have witnessed the same story. Well, Burundi has a lot to do in as far as development is concerned and my friends, if your leadership does not change, Burundi will collapse on bandwagonism. Truth be told, your leadership has no vision, Nkurunziza is just a cartoon, a follower of Kikwete just.

  18. Ntanakimwe says:

    @ Rwanda review

    I did not insult you , on the other hand you are calling me ignorant yet you have failed to answer any of the issues I have raised with you. You are taking this to another level, I’m out

    good luck

  19. Burundi 4 ever says:

    Dude you should take Political Science classes, You just said that Burundi was saved because people are merry over there, that’s complete nonsense, if you actually look at history, you would know that ethnic divisions in Burundi was never as deep as in Rwanda, our I.Ds didn’t have the Tusti/Hutu component. You are just spreading shallow rubbish which are not being backed by fact. And one more thing, if today some Burundians are like that is because of the war that has changed our culture.We’re not all drunkards. I think instead of talking about Burundi’s problems, you talk about your country’s problem. And one more thing, people like you are not welcome in Burundi, if you despise Burundi so much, never come back again…… we don’t need people like you

    • rwandareview says:

      listen to yourself, this is my blog, do you know what a blog is? It’s like if I scribbling my thoughts in a diary and let people read it. Are you blaming me for thinking? Honestly you are acting so stupidly and embarrassing your nation. Now about humour, we have had analysis from every angle, read Jared Diamond and his chapter on Rw in “Collapse” we have had forensic analysis on the causes and causes of causes, Diamond even linked Rainfall in massacres in Rwanda with a 4 month lag of correlation. Even soil depletion was a major factor, overpopulation in Kanama a place with no Hutus, 10% of the population were killed on personal grudges and the only Tutsi woman was spared. So why not look at the psychological make-up of Rwandans vs Burundi, humour is a mere reflection of this, if you want to study a culture the jokes give you deep insight into the mindset of the person, the norms, the taboos, the fears, the hopes. Humour is a very serious topic my friend, I illustrated the different jokes, Rwandan – twisted, sardonic, malicious even, Burundian – self-deprecating, ironic, able to see the good in anything, and accepting of all.I said the difference in us is decentralised vs Centralised In Rwanda the King chose the chiefs, in Burundi the Bataga chose chose the King. Different mentalities, different outlook, different humour. Now our jokes are about suicide bombers co that is what we fear. So allow me my blog, it’s only a blog dude. A BLOG!!! Do you want me to stop writing or stop thinking?

  20. munyankara says:

    Honestly, the animosity in the discussion above makes me sad. I can’t tell you how many times I encounter these never ending discussions about who is better off/what country is well off…etc, So many pointless arguments. Growing up in Bujumbura, I rarely heard Burundians say nice things about Rwandans – My Opinion and experience. I know enough on Burundi to agree with Isibo on some of his opinions, especially about our leaders. To be specific, I agree with the fact (yes a fact) that current Burundian leaders have no vision whatsoever. I never understand why Burundians always deal with this in a confrontational fashion. Can you not see that the leadership lacks a vision? Do you really have to be this aggressive when an outsider points out the thruth? Also, why do we have to insult each other? Only one person came up with a border line critical analysis, although between the lines I caught a glimpse of bias. People let’s not be aggressive towards bloggers or authors who express their thoughts on Burundi. We should try and stay objective on the matter. For instance, those attacks on Isibo’s intelligence, come on those were uncalled for. I can say with absolute certainty that nobody here is ignorant or stupid just by looking at the content of your comments. Let’s try our best to stay objective.
    I was in Bujumbura last summer and believe me NOBODY is happy with our current leaders. And I don’t mean just politicians from the opposition or some of our notorious NGOs leaders, I am talking about everybody Businessmen/women, technicians, engineers, Doctors, nurses, etc…If you have been to Burundi recently, you know what I am talking about.
    The other thing I find interesting is the fact that Burundians never acknowledge Rwanda’s economic achievements. There is always that “BUT” that shows up. I admit that Rwanda is not perfect but at least give them the credit they deserve for getting where they are now.
    Since we can only speculate about what the future holds for us, let’s not focus on what is going to happen and today’s facts. The truth is that probably +/- 90% of the population both in Rwanda and Burundi does not care about all that nonsense you educated people always argue about: political space, democracy, free speech, opposition. People only care about their well fare, things such as family, security, food security, jobs…etc. Those are the things that matter to their everyday life. So in my humble opinion, the Rwandan govt has been able to provide those necessities to its people. That’s a fact. On the other hand, their Burundian counterparts don’t seem to even care about the people they are responsible of caring for. There is not only a lack of vision among our leaders but also our leadership is not driven enough to plan for it. Now that we have established our situation or defined our problem, let’s make peace with it and find an appropriate solution. Otherwise, being defensive and attacking the messenger is not going to help anybody.

    Thanks Rama Isibo a well-articulated piece once again.

  21. munyankara says:

    look at today’s facts***
    Thanks Rama Isibo for***

  22. Mahoro says:

    My impression is that the guy who wrote this article has tried to be objective as much as possible if we look at the picture we, Burundians, are sending outside.

  23. Jean-Paul says:

    Bagusimbiyeko nk´ubuyabu busimbira ku mbeba. La vérité blesse. Ahubwo n´uko uri umunyarwanda. Abarundi tuvuga ibirenze. Ababihakana nabo, nuko batazi ibiba ahandi.
    Bizotugora kugira tuje k´umurongo w´ibindi bihugu. Ubu tugiye kuba province ya Tanzanie.

    • Ishim Darley says:

      Jean Paul uraheza ubereke ahandi bacisha ama marchandises Ku ma port sha….kandi bishoboka kuba uba uhazi…et puis ndakwibutse gatoyi que le Burundi est un pays enclavé.. Mugihe tutarashobora kuza turakora ivyo dukenesheje vyose par nous même on doit bien trouver ahandi tubikura et comment acheminer ces produits vers le Burundi….nayo ivyo kuvuga ngo le Burundi izoba colonie ya Tanzanie kubera ihacisha des marchandises et aussi parce que bagirana business…c’est un peu enfantin

  24. Kaneza says:

    “As the Titanic heads to the iceberg they pour another Amstel.”

    That’s pretty harsh. You do make a few legitimate points (although none are original), but your generalizations are huge, and some of your comments (lke what you say about the coffee sector) were accurate three or four years ago but not now. . Also, Toxic is not the place to go to get a handle on what is going on in Burundian society, 90% of Bujumbura’s population would never dream of going to Toxic or Havana. You speak Kinyarwanda I’m assuming. Go make some friends, hang out at a corner bar in Nyakabiga or somewhere. You’ll have a better image of the country and its people, I don’t doubt it for a minute. How long were you in Buja, and when?

    • rwandareview says:

      I told you I was around town, even in slums, around Kirondo, even various slums, our car was fixed in Cibitoke for cheap and well. I even stop people and talk to them, these are the stories I heard and saw, I chilled with every level of Burundian you could have. Please don’t take this as serious as others are taking it, the title says it all. Maybe nationalism is making you take this as a validation thing, you should just laugh it off like I thought you would, I am gonna put the words IT’S JUST A BLOG!!! On the header so people take a chill pill. Opinions is Opinions

  25. Buderi says:

    @Rama..my guy you are confused, first you go on an extended diatribe about the laissez-faire attitude prevalent in Burundi then an even longer rant about how Kigali is a prison… I think beyond all the stupidity written in this piece you beg to ask the question are Barundi better off than Banyarwanda given their government in its present form and vice versa….much of a man’s fate is determined by many factors beyond his control, in this case the factor in question is the jurisdiction of his surroundings imposed by the gvt of the day for it determines what he can & cannot do, ideas he can & cannot express etc… having said that I think there should be a clear delineation between a nation’s citizens and their gvt … thus the border post, the inept policeman or investment official and all the other nonsense mentioned in this post are by no means a reflection of Burundi’s people … whether either country’s gvt is justified in how they rule the land is a subjective question that can only be answered on an individual basis i.e. given my ethnicity hutu, tutsi or twa, are opportunities to pursue knowledge, wealth and happiness as equal to me, am I an equal active participant in the collective well being and future of my country and if things were the other way would I be better off… my guy if you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs personality test I wld love to know what your personality type is … my inclination is that you have a “We should personality”.. that guy always saying we should cure cancer, we should alleviate poverty , we should cure Aids, we should send a cow to the moon .. all ideas no action once confronted with the complexities of the real world … kudos to your internet activism though
    –“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”

  26. Outlook says:

    There is a 1. common problem in our two countries and another 2. specific to Burundi.

    1. The word Tusti evokes beauty , excellence or superiority unlike Hutu in people minds. As these ulterior complex. The Hutu specifically the Burundian one mostly deny these ulterior complex and gives sometimes rise to abnormal behavior. Tusti delight to enjoy it, because they are placed wrongly in a flattering position for No real apparent reason. Without this situation to change in people mind we will continue facing unanticipated conflicts at any moment.

    2. For 25 years, not since the advent of the CNDD for sure with Buyoya. It became a culture and respect for mediocrity. Political diplomacy health education. The country is lost.

    • rwandareview says:

      there is no scientific basis for these so-called tribes, it was a social class structure. One story I laughed at was when the President tried to institute Umuganda communal labour in Burundi, a villager scoffed “Numuhutu nkangye, yantegeka nkande?” He’s just a hutu like me, who is he to order me around? This complex of inferiority and superiority is deeply ingrained in both sides. The question is service delivery, a Govt is not just supposed to represent the ethnic background of a nation but deliver services to its citizens. This move towards services is crucial a govt has to run schools, clinics, police, roads, etc. One thing I love about Kagame he said that no-one will look down on Rwanda, we stared just by cleaning the streets, setting basic standards for ourselves as people regardless of background. No one looks down on us, they hate us, even despise us, but even our enemies respect us. Ntabwo tugayuka Never

  27. Pingback: Dear Burundians, it was a joke! | This Burundian Life

  28. Vv says:

    Dear Rama,
    tu as bien fait de dire que ceci est un blog donc somehow pas sérieux même si tous les blogs ne sont pas d’un aussi bas niveau. Loin de là heureusement ! Ton article est pathétique, pauvrement et maladroitement écrit. You may be raising good points, actually some are good muga wavyanditse nk’imkuru zo mwibararaba zi generalisa et qui frôlent le ridicule qu’on s’arrête de lire au 3e paragraphe.
    We do not know each but I do that as a blogger you could have done better than this and should have avoided le côté patriotique qui t’as hélas dominé. My advice is this, next time when writing; try to be more intellectual and think twice…
    Sur ce!

  29. Ishim Darley says:

    Hahahhahh that’s hilarious. Gosh I think this is the most hilarious joke of the year….and the way you write as if you were serious…. You should double check to see if you don’t have any ancestor from Burundi because you do have that amazing Burundian sense of humor you mentioned….. Lol but you truly are a comedian.. BRAVO

  30. Burundi Bwacu says:

    Vous etes vraiment des blogeurs pour ne pas dire des blageurs. What pleases me is that you are all patriotic and I wish your patriotism would help you not only to be proud of who you are, but also learn to respect your neighbour. It is only when someone is afraid of you that he becomes offensive against you; otherwise, a snake would not bite a person. Rama is someone who might have learnt about Burundi and came to conduct his research to validate his hypothesis. Unfortunately, he got mistaken in the choice of the sample. I think we should forgive him because he conducted his research in drinking clubs, maybe he thought or he thinks that the prototype of the people are found in such places. One thing I would not tolerate is that he generalises the information he got from the drunkers. He should come and redo it again, having chosen a good sample and prepared a good questionnaire that can come out with the findings that can be trusted by the readers.May God Bless Burundians and Rwandeses. Thank you

  31. LEE SHAWN says:

    hahahahahahahahah!!!! that pretty stupid bro! you just don’t come up becoz u have a blog to write some nonsense about a great people who help Rwandez some years ago and call them now a country of drunkards! am sorry but try to be a bit professional give some facts, do not just write abt anything passing through your damn mind… you do not need to compare 250 and 257 YOU HAVE SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT BUT WE HAVE PEACE AND THIS WHAT MATTERS FOR ANY COUNTRY. it is so painful to see and think what Rw will be when all the exiled people will come back!!! the same way Tutsis came even them they can return and as someone says don’t worry we will welkm as always coz we are burundians and we love our neighbors

  32. Born Burundian says:

    “Nuwokugaya, ntiyogukoza akatsi munyo”.

    Basamanje*, your article is quite funny, especially that it shows line after line how wrong and poor you’ve got your lecture on Burundi, and be so dumb to think you’re clever enough to write a thousand nonsense words on Burundi. Worst be worst, you dare put a President’s dick as a joke in your article and claim you do criticize your home country Rwanda !!
    Question Pour Un Champion : What happens when you criticize Kagame?”
    Hint: South Africa.
    However though, Basamanje*, you’re highlighting one important thing: Burundi has no 2020 Vision, or no Vision at all. But Basamanje*, you go on to describes how Burundi is rich, beautiful, has more pontetial ways to emulate Rwanda as well.
    We now know Rwanda envies Burundi, somehow!

    To all my Burundian fellows, lets all get back to work, overtake DD power and move on !

    *: Basamanje refers to Rama Isibo due to the fact that you went on to describe a country you dont know about. In other words, “Ba-sans-connaitre-l’histoire”

  33. Kanakimana says:

    When you cannot judge your own country, you can only attack your neighbour… Burundi has issues yes but so does Rwanda…. Your city can be clean, with buildings and so on but deep down you know that you are building on sand…. History will tell…

  34. simon says:

    A response Rama Isibo’s article “Burundi: A Nation Beyond Parody”

    First of all, et entre nous, were there any facts in that article that were untrue? Have we not become a joke? Are we not the perfect symbol of an absurd African country? And if there is any doubt on how ridiculous we are, let me remind you that our Minister of Finance proclaimed that in 2013, poverty had globally decreased in Burundi. Yes, in this past 2013 that saw the central market burned to a crisp devastating the economy, in the same year that inflation was in the double digits, and in the very year that our dear Burundi was ranked among the hungriest nations in the world (depending on the indicator, we are the hungriest).

    And by the way, Governing does not require experience nor is it summed up as service delivery, governance is patriotism. None of our former leaders had much experience on how to run a country, yet they did, admittedly mistakes were committed, but nothing ever came close to the shear idiotic recklessness that we see today. Running a country can therefore be equated to raising a child, if you love the child, plan to give it a good future, and set boundaries, the child will grow to be a well enough adult despite of any challenges or difficulties. Incidentally, there is no hidden meaning or implied suggestion in the child metaphor, it was used to make a point.

    On to the serious, it is always astonishing how we Burundians react to these types of foreign articles criticizing us, given the fact that we are not willing to lift the veil and confront reality. Take for instance the responses to article that kept repeating that the country will get better, seriously, can any sane person realistically look at where we are and see hope. The economy is in terrible shape and it will get worst, the political situation is spiraling out of control, the health sector, the population, and the list goes on. In the same light, do we actually realize the choice that we will have to make in 2015, we have two options. The first option is to refuse another CNDD mandate which will mean lots of dead Burundians and the second option is another five years of destructive governance. Which is your choice? Finally and most chilling, there is a point to the picture of the conjoined twins and the comparison of Burundi to the 1980s Rwanda in Rama’s article. A particularly terrifying point that we have chosen to ignore. We have yet to come to grips with the fact that given the history of our two nations, what is happening in Rwanda affects Burundi. Thus, we must ask ourselves, in the ethnic context of our region, how the falling government of Burundi will explain away their failures in the face of the success of Rwanda.

    So fellow Burundians, the intention here is not to decry you the stances that you have taken in responding the Rama Isibo’s article but to implore you for some real introspection in what is an unbearable situation and what will surely be a difficult future.

  35. Danois says:

    As an European outsider, married to a Burundian who lived in Kigali, and a few longer or shorter visits in both Bujumbura and Kigali, I’ll give my bird-perspective opinion on this matter.

    If I should start up a business in one of those two great cities, I’d chose Kigali. Things are faster though still very slow compare to European standards, electricity, water and internet power cuts happens a lot in Kigali also in a level where you just need to practice a patience natives are born with but mzungus like me never learned, but Bujumbura would be too unreliable in a success hunt.

    Kigali want to copy western infrastructure and do great in many ways, but not everything from outside Africa is great. I’d wish that Rwanda gave a critical look on new implements. and only choose the good part instead as I see it, importing all and everything in a desperate speed the population is not ready for. Teach them to stop by the red light before you place traffic-light all over, because when I see a green light, I think I can go, and then it becomes dangerous.

    If I should raise my kids in one of those two, I’d choose Bujumbura. The spirit are more warm, friendly and happy. I admire the strong band between family and friend. Your call your cousins, cousins, cousin for your sister.

    I guess Burundians and Rwandans are not so different as it could seems when you look at the two countries. The bad part is that Burundi were unlucky to get an unserious leader you can compare to an European king some hundred years ago. The corruption and lack of simple improvements or even repairs of a great city basic needs makes you think the inhabits are in paralyzed state like the Russians during the communism; “Nothing is worth to spend energy on anyway”. Maybe It’s the nice polite friendly lets-not-fight spirit that makes it possible for the corrupt to still be in charge.

    Rwanda were unlucky to get a soft dictator who control the country in a much more wishful way than dictators in countries not so far away. Still, if Rwanda want all the bad from Europe they should at least take our damn democracy also and not make us read that opponents are found outside a bar with heads separated from the bodies.

    I would love to live in a middle way of those two countries, if you could collect the best of the two. A place where people will defeat corruption, make basic electricity and water function, and where people could say their meaning loudly without fear. Bring the beer and the parties also. If there is anything else you guys absolutely want to improve, don’t copy Europe, but get inspired and take the good things. If you ask me there is nothing you need, and there is always a price. You pay with your soul for an imaginary freedom.

    My believe is that a countries population gets the leaders their average awareness deserve.

  36. movingforward says:

    Please, it is his/her blog for god sake!!! Him not necessary Rwandase but independent human thinker (wrong or bad one).
    He/she has the right to write whatever he want. I am Burundian and i think that he/she has the write to express his/her thought.
    For my fellow Burundian who wrote “you Rwandese …” stop doing that, because if you disappoint the fact that he/she talk about Burundians in the wrong way, you are doing a “copy-paste”.

    Let’s Burundians and Rwandese develop our own countries, and use our time to do useful things (not insulting each others) as creating projects and do our best to realize them.

  37. Turiyo says:

    Jesus, some of you Burundians are ridiculously sensitive. It was just some humorous criticism. Do you consider your country to be above criticism? Is no one allowed to make fun of you?

  38. Musweranyana says:

    Just a note to my friends, Isibo in particular: A friend was in Kigali and Bujumbura in December. In Bujumbura, all the talks were about the assassination of Patrick K. In Kigali, not a word about that tragic event! sometimes you wonder, and wish for … wait, there is no musweranyana bold enough to blog about it.

  39. Deborah Ntawigirira says:

    Don’t talk to fast dear “twin”, so that before you know you don’t get surprised by the course of things.

    I mean…There was a time where Burundi was a very powerful Democratic nation with an economy that was way to strong compared to Rwanda economy.

    La vie est une roue qui tourne…
    There for,be humble and stay humble (avec un coeur de lion ).
    Tugir’amahoro

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