Pres. Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi at the Wilson Center

Went to see a decently interesting discussion with Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza at the Wilson Center last week.  (There’s video of an interview he later conducted at the Center here.)  As speeches by politicians tend to be, his presentation was a polished and upbeat discourse on Burundi’s post-war reconstruction, focusing on the country’s provision of free primary education and healthcare, and the success of consociationalism at keeping the peace.  Perhaps due to the fact that he’s not up for re-election any time soon, the questions were considerably gentler than those thrown at DRC presidential candidate Leon Kengo wa Dondo during a speech he gave at SAIS a few days previously.

(Adding to my collection of blurry photos of African politicians)

That said, I was interested to note that the first commentator pre-empted my own question by asking about whether the country’s ethnic reconciliation would be durable.  The responses given by both Nkurunziza and former Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Howard Wolpe fit the simplified formula I’m investigating in my thesis very well: powersharing + war fatigue = ethnic reconciliation.  No discussion of mechanisms at all, although I didn’t really expect such in this type of public forum.