Tags: Burundi, political repression
Yesterday, a senior member of the government (people have told me different stories on which) was on national radio denouncing the Belgian ambassador and Belgian interference in the country, finishing with an accusation of homosexuality. As I posted yesterday, this is a pretty serious insult in a country where it’s punishable with up to two years in gaol.
In other news, police attempted to arrest the leader of the opposition. As far as I can work out he isn’t actually in gaol (police surrounding the house where he was visiting friends at the time of the arrest) but they have seized his computer and diary from his office. This follows the arrest of several opposition politicians and journalists earlier in the year on trumped-up treason charges, and, needless to say, is not a positive sign for those hoping for free and fair elections next year.
Working out what’s going on here is pretty tricky as almost all the media is in Kirundi, but I’m going to try and meet up for a beer with some people later and will post if I can work it all out. But my instinctive reaction is that denouncing the former colonial power combined with arrests and intimidation of the opposition and press reminds me strongly of another African country further south…