Timing and Sequencing of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding in Burundi

In Burundi, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding policies have not led to sustainable peace. In all five episodes of civil war, state institutions and representatives were the main actors of the conflict either by initiating the killings as in 1993 or by transforming geographically localized rebellions into all out civil wars, as in 1972, through brutal country-wide repressions. The analysis of timing and sequencing of post-conflict policies is centered on the Arusha peace negotiations for Burundi and the implementation of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi, the cornerstone of peacebuilding in Burundi. The timing of the Arusha negotiations seems to have been prompted by unexpected specific events while the design of the negotiations was strongly influenced by the personal preferences of the mediator. Timing and sequencing of reconstruction and peacebuilding policies tended to prioritize the measures that could offer immediate benefits to the political elite. As a result, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), one of the key measures that could have provided the foundation for long term stability has never been allowed to operate. Current and past political elites in the post-Arusha period have shied away from implementing this important agreement probably fearing to confront the truths it might bring up. The leadership has tended to perpetuate 'historical silences' over Burundi's tragic past. Economic recovery that generally supports peacebuilding has not taken place as it does not seem to have been considered as a priority.

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