Saturday, August 13, 2011

Random News Generator- Burundi

Burundi is one of the poorest nations on Earth, having been repeatedly devastated by civil war. They have seen two genocides between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnicities. In 1972, Tutsis killed Hutus. In 1994, Hutus killed Tutsis in something of an extension of the more well-known genocide going on in Rwanda around the same time. Both of the 1994 genocides were set off by the same event, that being the shooting down of a plane containing the presidents of both nations, both Hutu.

The bulk of the violence only ceased in 2006, though even then, one splinter group, the National Liberation Front (a Hutu group), continued to fight for two more years. Burundi has since turned its attention to rebuilding the smoking crater that has become their home. In terms of GDP per capita, they rank ahead of only DR Congo.

Among the mediators who helped broker peace, or at least tried to, was current South African president Jacob Zuma. Zuma wrapped up a three-day return to Burundi on Friday in which the two signed an economic pact. The scope of the pact seems to be fairly comprehensive, with various articles on the topic mentioning cooperation in agriculture, defense, education, energy, finance, infrastructure, sports (Times Live mentions South Africa sending 3,000 soccer balls), transportation and tourism.

Zuma was also called upon to help soothe once-again-rising tensions in Burundi before they degenerate into another war. Last year, Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected president with 91% of the vote (and without opposition) after the opposition claimed it to be a rigged election and boycotted. Much of that opposition has since fled the country or went underground.

The chief opponent: Agathon Rwasa of the National Liberation Front.

Zuma, however, declined to get involved this time. Hopefully, someone will.

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