Everyone is unanimous. The hotel was a little "jewel" in Kirundo Province. It was a pride and reference in the locality. It had thirty rooms and a dozen of employees. From the building, there are only pictures of ruins shared on social media. Dr. Jean Minani, the unfortunate owner of the hotel, hesitates between sadness and anger.
The tragedy of his hotel began in November 2015. "The building was closed following a court order. At the time it was said that people who threatened the security of some provincial authorities had spent the night in my hotel. Investigations had been carried out. Nothing was found. However, all the members of staff were arrested and the hotel got closed," said the chairman of CNARED.
A police station was set up a few meters from the building. "Curiously, despite the presence of police agents a few meters from my hotel, which is also located in a residential area, cases of robbery were reported to me almost every day", says bitterly Dr. Minani, before adding that the residence of the provincial governor is even located near his hotel.
From exile, Dr. Jean Minani helplessly learns that the furniture, mattresses, kitchen utensils are looted even day time. "It's a crying shame," he says with a sad smile.
His hotel gradually fell into ruin. It was shortly after his election at the head of CNARED platform, that the destruction would have taken another turn, says Dr. Minani before adding that people dug to bring down the walls,"he says.
When the scandal broke on social networks, the spokesman for the police reacted, refuting the accusations of the chairman of CNARED. Pierre Nkurikiye, quoted by Ikiriho "The guard of the hotel was private. Due to lack of payment, the hotel guards left it without notifying to the police or administration the reason why it got looted, "says Nkurikiye.
"A police station was set up at the main entrance of my hotel. In the back, there are other police agents guarding the governor's residence while others are appointed to the police commissioner, a few meters away from the police camp.
How can one steal in a place that is so guarded to the point of carrying a big tank of 5000 liters which was used to keep water?" wonders Dr Minani.
Dr. Jean Minani says his hotel was looted in the eye of the public. "Kirundo is a small town, everyone knows where the furniture, TV sets, fridges, mattresses- in brief, everything that was taken from my hotel is," he says.
Dr. Jean Minani denounces hatred that motivates some Burundian politicians to plunder the property of those they consider as their enemies when in fact they are only political opponents. "This hotel was the pride of Kirundo province. People were working there, helping their families and I paid taxes. Why should it be destroyed?" he wonders.
According to him, those who do this send a terrible message of hatred."It's stupid and too wicked," concludes CNARED Chairman.
Written by Antoine Kaburahe and translated by Diane Uwimana