The Secretary General of the ruling CNDD FDD party expresses himself on several current concerns including the place of CNARED in the dialogue, the issue of term limit and the candidate for 2020 presidential election.
What is your reading of the external dialogue led by the mediation?
The objective of the external dialogue was to repatriate all Burundians in exile because of fear. Some people had traumatized the population. Those who were weak felt compelled to leave. It was necessary to restore confidence and make sure that all those who are outside the country return.
Some voices demand that people like Niyombare, Sinduhije and Pacifique Nininahazwe take part in the internal dialogue. Do you support them?
How do you want that someone who is wanted by the justice be free to decide on the stability of the country when he himself is the destabilizing element? I think it is understandable that people who are wanted cannot participate in this dialogue. Rather, they should come before the court to defend themselves. If they come out victorious, there is no problem. But if they are found guilty, they will have to serve their sentences and be freed at the end of the penalty.
Shouldn't immunity be granted to those who are prosecuted to allow them to return?
It's a handful of people who want to manipulate the public opinion and they should not distract us. I would advise the Burundian people not to be distracted. There is no immunity. Is there another Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the coup d'état? Will two TRC be sacked up? It is not logical.
The new presidency of CNARED spoke of the possibility of a transitional government without Pierre Nkurunziza. What's your take on that?
They say all they want because they are outside the country. They got an occupation: to tell anything when there is nothing to say. The reality is quite different. CNARED is an organization that covers coup plotters. These are people who have in mind the idea of overthrowing the institutions. So, it is not surprising to hear them talk like that.
Are you for or against a transitional government?
It is impossible to change a government that has been democratically elected by the people. The elections have taken place and the resulting institutions have been put in place. Those who want to run the country have to wait until the 2020 elections to come forward.
Demands for sanctions against Burundi are issued while Bujumbura praises lull
There are people who would wish to see Burundi like Somalia or become like Libya. This is totally impossible because Burundi is not divided. Burundians are one people .They have reconciled. These people who wish evil to Burundi are not happy with this reality.
That is why you will hear about preparations for the genocide while the government is making efforts to stabilize the country. It is a way of tarnishing Burundi's image vis-à-vis the international community.
What is the position of the CNDD FDD in relation to the amendment of the Constitution to exclude the term limit in particular?
Until now, these are only debates. Everyone expresses themselves freely. I also have my ideas. Nevertheless, there has not yet been a meeting within the party to decide on the CNDD-FDD's position in relation to the provisions of the Constitution.
What is essential is the setting up of a commission that will be responsible for this revision by bringing together all these ideas in order to be able to identify what is right and good for our country.
But the demonstrations regularly held speak of Nkurunziza as president in 2020?
People have the right to express themselves. In a democratic regime, the aspirations of the people take precedence over anything. However, it takes more than that to know the true position of the people. There must be a referendum and vote count. For the moment, people are expressing themselves but no decisions have been made so far. Let us wait.
Why always Nkurunziza? Isn't there anybody in CNDD-FDD who can succeed him?
I imagine that those who think like this are those who are afraid of the popularity of Nkurunziza. The party has not yet presented its candidate. Otherwise, there are many candidates within CNDD-FDD. The Congress will decide when the time comes. To date, we do not know the candidate for 2020.
Are there any candidates who have the ambition to succeed Pierre Nkurunziza?
When one is truly engaged in politics, they can easily claim to govern a country. We do not need to be prepared, we are ready. I consider as a candidate any competent and active member of CNDD-FDD. And there are many.
Are you among them?
I know that there are several people capable of being candidates within CNDD-FDD. This will depend on the decision of the congress. In fact, the candidate will be the one who will have emerged from the lot of the ego (laughter).
You organized a tour with the diplomats, a successful seduction operation?
We wanted to take some time to discuss with the international community based in here. It was also about creating a framework for lively exchanges. We welcomed the presence of all diplomats. They had time to contemplate our country. I think that one must know the country they represent. We did not want to advertise it and the main thing was to create this beautiful and discreet opportunity.
There are 400 thousand Burundians who fled the country according to UNHCR. What is the ruling party doing to bring them back?
I think all these figures are issued in order to manipulate the international community. Nor should we lose sight of the fact that it is UNHCR officials who need a job. Imagine a world without refugees. What will happen to these officials? (Laughing). Seriously, what is essential to my party is that all the children of the nation come back to develop our country. We are glad that some of them have returned and encourage others to do the same.
In front of your office door, there is a poster which reads "2017, Fight poverty". Is it your pet subject? What are you doing to get there?
The day I was elected Secretary General of the party, I said that our only enemy is poverty. I am mobilizing the population, awakening the minds so that people become aware in order to work hard. Even if they only worked 12 hours a day, that would do. This year is devoted to mobilization as the first phase. It is a kind of foundation that will be followed by a study on global development next year and I have confidence in the people of Burundi.