In two years, between April 2015 and May 2017, the political crisis experienced by Burundi caused at least 1,200 deaths and more than 400,000 displaced, according to ICC estimates. In 2020, elections were held June 18, leading Evariste Ndayishimiye to take office as President of the Republic and Head of Government. His predecessor, Pierre Nkurunziza, did not run for a second mandate. Therefore, retired General Ndayishimiye won by a landslide, collecting 68% of the votes.
His main opponent, Agathon Rwasa, has challenged the result by denouncing fraud and irregularities.
The vote was preceded and marked by various acts of violence, even by the police, reported especially by opposition parties. According to the report of the Commission of Inquiry of the United Nations, “numerous serious human rights violations have been documented since May 2019, connected with the 2020 elections. The perpetrators of this violence aimed first and foremost to target opposition parties.”
The United Nations also denounces the participation in these acts of violence by police forces, secret services and even the involvement of the judiciary. Corruption and illicit financial flows have a negative impact on respect for human rights in the country. The report prepared by the Commission of Inquiry of the United Nations concludes that “despite the political transition underway, most of the risk factors and most of the risk factors and deep reforms are necessary to improve the situation in the medium and long term.”
Burundi continues to be ridden with ambushes and attacks. On May 25, 2021 at least four grenades were thrown in the central market of the capital Bujumbura, killing two bystanders. After the failed coup in 2015, the country was marked by sporadic attacks based on ethnicity or conducted by the government party’s youth wing, known as the Imbonerakure. A year before the elections, in March 2019, several foreign journalists working in Burundi were expelled. These included local correspondents from the BBC and Voice of America. Similarly, many local newspapers, accused of collaborating with the promoters of the 2015 coup, have been suspended. In some cases, the editorial offices and offices of these newspapers were destroyed and set on fire. In January 2021, the president asked the National Media Council to invite journalists to return to work in Burundi.
The pandemic does not seem to have aggravated the already difficult living conditions of this small country, one of the most densely populated in the world, with three quarters of the population living
below the poverty line. One year after the discovery of the first case of Coronavirus, in March 2020,
according to official data, there have been 2,618 registered cases of Covid-19 (out of 12 million inhabitants) with only 6 officially recorded deaths.