President Evariste Ndashimiye has a Chance to Redefine Burundi’s Future.
Burundi has been associated with all the wrongs in terms of development and political stability for years. Under the previous regimes, Burundi wasn’t a country of choice for most of us. Political dictatorship kept a majority of investors at Bay.
When looking at the underdevelopment ravaging a majority of African countries, one realizes that poor governance is often to blame. Burundi is not an isolated case of dictatorship regimes that went too far to fail in understanding that the state was bigger than the individual.
Like other African countries still, Burundi was treated as a ‘personal’ enterprise under the Nkurunziza regime and this attracted criticism from near and far. Africans are yet to understand that they are the rulers in the so-called democratic governance that we brag about all the time. Burundians were under bad governance for far too long, but what could they do?
Former president Pierre Nkurunziza seemed to have borrowed a leaf from his namesake Pierre Buyoya to openly advance dictatorship and must have vowed to surpass him as the longest-serving president of that country; a feat which he succeeded at.
When Nkurunziza died in 2020, Burundi had an opportunity for new leadership. And that leader was Evariste Ndashimiye. He, Ndashimiye, inherited a country with lots of sanctions and struggling economically and is now tasked with taking the big shots to ensure Burundi catches up with her peers in the continent.
As the country celebrated 60 years of independence this month, the president was full of optimism that it is no longer the Burundi we knew rather we are talking of a new Burundi. If anything, politics without optimists is dead politics.
In his speech, Ndashimiye appreciated the underdevelopment status of his country blaming colonization as the root cause of all that including the moral and ethical decay that gives birth to such vices as wars. These, he noted, were the key reasons to blame for the poor economic state of the country.
The World Bank ranks Burundi as the poorest country in the world. This is not good news for any leader, yet it provides an opportunity for the leader with the interest of the people at heart to bring change. I believe President Evariste has that agenda topping his list.
President Evariste needs to understand one critical thing though, that change is not often easy and that things must change nevertheless. He needs to realize that at some point, the pain of not embracing change becomes too costly than the pain of embracing the change. At this point, a change is usually inevitable, yet it is not the situation any serious leader would want to wish for.
So, the hopes we had that his regime would open up the country and catapult it up a spiral of development growth are not dashed up yet as some believe. I believe Burundians have all their eyes on their leader to change the course of the future.
I hope that his promise during his inauguration on 18th June 2020 that he will build Burundi on the foundations of good governance, respect, and protection of human rights is still on course. He also vowed to follow in the steps of his predecessor albeit on embracing the positives, he needs to rise and take the bold steps and decisions that will enable Burundi to get out of the economic suppression it is currently in.
There is potential in Burundi, and the ability to exploit that potential for the benefit of Burundians now lies in the hands of their head of state. If he can conveniently get proper teams into place and task them to draw proper blueprints aimed to bring economic recovery to the country and act on them accordingly, Ndashimiye stands to be hailed as the leader the country was waiting for far too long.
One call to him though, he needs to act fast. As years go by, let him win the hearts of the Burundians by fast-tracking the country’s overall growth especially economically. Some people think he is taking too long to do tangible things aimed at bringing change.
Others appreciate the direction the country is taking but feel the impact is little. This is the time he has to begin if he hasn’t begun or accelerate the country’s walk out of poverty. The opportunity to redefine the future of Burundi is in the hands of one man; Evariste Ndashimiye. Can he rise to the occasion?
Only time will tell.