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Burundi Ombudsman controversial mission


Before the mandate of the Burundian Ombudsman Mohamed Rukara expires at the end of November, some civil society and political party leaders say he was not able to accomplish his mission successfully as stipulated in Burundi Constitution.

“Section 237 of the Burundian Constitution says Burundi Ombudsman has the mission to ensure the mediation between the government and citizens. But given the personality of Mohamed Rukara, as a member of the executive committee of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, could not independently accomplish his mission,” says Tatian Sibomana, the spokesman of the UPRONA party , the wing which is not officially recognized by the government of Burundi.

For Sibomana, it was very difficult for Rukara to fulfill his duty since an Ombudsman must be a wise and uncorrupted person who is not afraid of public institutions. “But the fact we heard once his spokesman alerting that Burundi Ombudsman had received death threats, shows sufficiently that he was not powerful,” deplores Sibomana.

The spokesman of UPRONA mentions that he does not even expect more from the new Ombudsman who will be soon elected.

For Gabriel Rufyiri, the chairman of the Anti-corruption and Economic Malpractice Organization –OLUCOME, the Ombudsman has the task of examining and investigating the mismanagement of state funds and human rights violations committed by civil servants. “We cannot say the office of the Ombudsman has generally completed its mission,” says Rufyiri.  He states that he could not work independently given the situation prevailing in the country. Rufyiri  is pessimistic that the new Ombudsman will change anything since public institutions remain paralyzed in the country.

The Burundi Platform of Civil Society Organizations [PISC Burundi] is satisfied with the mission undertaken by Burundi Ombudsman Muhamed Rukara during his term.  “He was able to reconcile religious leaders and organize peace conferences,” says the spokesman of PISC Burundi Hamza Venant Burikukiye. He asks his predecessor to continue in the same direction, especially to help Burundians promote the path of dialogue and abandon the use of force.






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