Politicians never listen. For some time now, it has been clear that President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi was planning to hold onto power. This is a common African story. And it is also the case in neighbouring Rwanda – which has a similar ethnic profile as Burundi.
Apparently, president Kagame’s followers are urging him to change the constitution, and run again for a third term in 2017.
But that is where the post-traumatic similarities end.
Whereas President Kagame took a Rwanda shattered by genocide and turned it into Africa’s best-run country, Burundi has known nothing but penury and associated bad leadership since President Nkurunziza took over in 2005.
Direct comparisons between countries are not always possible, but Rwanda and Burundi are so similar in size, ethnic make-up, pre-colonial and post-colonial history that they are probably the only two countries on earth that should generally be on a par, whatever the circumstances.
Yet, while Rwanda is on track to meet all of its Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, Burundi is, incredibly, falling further behind on its own development goals.
President Nkurunziza runs a despicable regime, one which has overseen an astonishing rise in levels of corruption and has even been rumoured to be supporting Rwandese rebels hiding out in the jungles of Eastern Congo.
There is, in fact, practically no index or measure of development that President Nkurunziza scores positively on. His failure to heal Burundi’s ethnic divisions is glaring, the few Tutsi ministers in his cabinet recently resigned in a huff, points to an unreformed ideologue, steeped in partisan Hutu power intrigues and unwilling to let his country move on from the tragedies and travesties of the past.
Unless President Nkurunziza sees sense, or is made to, and leaves when his mandate expires, Burundi faces serious trouble ahead.