Rwandan genocide incitement tactics emerge in Burundi
As regional and international efforts gain momentum to deal with the deteriorating crisis in Burundi, a senior member of President Pierre Nkurunzizaâ€™s ruling party is inciting local population and security personnel to turn against each other.
Political unrest has increased with dozens of people so far killed, clobbered, or strangled to death on city streets across the country.
The conflict has taken a different turn. Politicians at the highest level of government are giving direct orders to security services to massacre civilians.
The language being used is exactly as was broadcast on hate media in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide against Tutsis.
In a recorded speech this past Sunday, Senate speaker Reverien Ndikuriyo called on the ruling party youth militia IMBONERAKURE and other government supporters to â€œget to workâ€.
Â â€œI have even said before, you have more opportunities to acquire property; if it is plots of land you want, go get it,â€ said Ndikuriyo.
â€œThe day they receive the order to truly work on behalf of the country and for the safety of Neighborhoods, they will operate seriously; when they are ordered to work seriously, they will work.â€
In April 1994, when the genocide started in Rwanda, ordinary people were glued to their radio receivers. The popular radio station RTLM had only one agenda: to incite masses to exterminate their Tutsi neighbors.
â€œYou have to work harder, the graves are not full,â€ urged the voice on the radio.
“Good workers who want to work for their country”
RTLM radio broadcast on April 7 and April 8 went: â€œYou have to kill [the Tutsis], they are cockroachesâ€¦â€
May 13: â€œAll those who are listening to us, arise so that we can all fight for our Rwandaâ€¦ Fight with the weapons you have at your disposal, those of you who have arrows, with arrows, those of you who have spears with spearsâ€¦ Take your traditional toolsâ€¦ We must all fight [the Tutsis]; we must finish them, exterminate them, and sweep them from the whole countryâ€¦ There must be no refuge for them, none at all.â€
And on July 2: â€œI do not know whether God will help us exterminate [the Tutsis] â€¦but we must rise up to exterminate this race of bad peopleâ€¦ They must be exterminated because there is no other way.â€
The same line of incitement was used by government at the top. At a ceremony to install a new provincial prefect for Butare, interim leader president Theodore Sindikubwabo said to “work” was the responsibility of every person. He warned that those not willing to “work” should be eliminated by the “good workers who want to work for their country.”
At that same event, the previous prefect was humiliated and denounced, sacked and eventually killed when it emerged he was resisting the government genocide project.
In another event â€“ as the genocide went on, the prime minister at the time Jean Kambanda said the Rwandan government was for Rwandans, and that those who sought to help the RPF rebels would have to join them at Murindi. In essence, only those who believed in the Genocide were considered Rwandans.
Kambanda called upon people he termed as â€œsilent politiciansâ€ that they â€œmust come out and say whether they fight for the interests of the population or lean towards the ideology of Inkotanyiâ€.
He scolded them, saying that â€œwhoever will not manifest their opinion, should never come forward to ask for something when the country has regained peaceâ€.
Speech denounced internationally
For the case of Burundi, at the meeting this weekend, the Senate speaker Ndikuriyo told local leaders from the CNDD-FDD ruling party that they must monitor all their people because they know them all.
The speech has been condemned by international observers and governments.
According to the UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, the UK is concerned about the “threat of genocide.
The United States and United Nations have also expressed their concern though there are no decisive measures yet taken to control the situation.
The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Amb Richard Sezibera was last Wednesday knocked by Nkurunzizaâ€™s Presidential Guard outside the countryâ€™s Senate where he had gone for intervention. The EAC Secretary General was humiliated in presence of Ugandan Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga.
The East African Member States were not happy with the Burundi government contempt to the Communityâ€™s Secretary General with which Burundi is also the Member.
The US Agency for International Development said it planned to spend 45 million dollars in Burundi during 2016, but â€œno funding will be provided directly to the government of Burundiâ€.
The Netherlands has also suspended all programmes with the authorities in Burundi, including support to the police and army.
It is reported the Burundian authorities are accusing some medical NGO of offering treatment to insurgents despite the revealed government support for the said insurgence.
Consequently, the US Agency for International Development said it planned to spend 45 million dollars in Burundi during 2016, but â€œno funding will be provided directly to the government of Burundiâ€.