BUJUMBURA July 2nd (ABP) – The 57th anniversary celebrations of Independence started on Monday July 1st with the laying of wreaths at the Mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Independence Square by the presidential couple, before continuing on the Boulevard of Independence. The two Deputy Presidents of the Republic, Messrs. Gaston Sindimwo and Joseph Butore; the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Pascal Nyabenda; the Senate President, Mr. Reverien Ndikuriyo; Ombudsman Edouard Nduwimana; government members; members of the diplomatic and consular corps accredited in Burundi as well as other civilian and military dignitaries also attended the ceremonies. After the review of the troops by the Supreme Commander of the National Defense Forces and President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza, a large parade was opened by agents of the Bujumbura City Council, followed by employees of the public and private sectors before the big military and police parade.
In his speech, the President of the Republic indicated that the 1st of July each year is a special day to cheer the hero of Independence Prince Louis Rwagasore and his companions. The Head of State regretted the colonial period for Burundi, which meant that the country recorded enormous losses in terms of economy, culture, customs and others. He took the opportunity to commend the step taken by Burundi with its independence, explaining that it is 85% of its management autonomy, without depending on the outside. He thanked all the friends of Burundi and all those who worked day and night for Burundi to become independent and advised the Burundians to fight against everything related to colonization.
The ceremonies were closed by the handing over of merit orders and awards by the Head of State to people who have distinguished themselves, more than others in their skills to their services or who have displayed patriotism in all that they do. These include the Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Déo-Guide Rurema for his innovations; Burundi’s ambassador to the UN, Mr. Albert Shingiro; the Director of the graduate school at the University of Burundi, Mr. Juma Shabani; the late Paul Mirerekano who worked hard for the independence of Burundi (he was represented by his two daughters); OPC1 Louis Habonimana who works at the port of Bujumbura; Major Noël Banyiyezako; Major Richard Gateretse who leads the 412 battalion; OPC2 Pascal Ntaconayigize, computer scientist at PAFE; OPC1 Lydia Budengeri; the late Faty Faty, player of the national football team for having well represented the country abroad (he was represented by his mother); two former ambassadors of Holland and France in Burundi; OP1 Gelase Nduwimana; Chief Warrant Officer Fréderic Nibigira; APC1 Didace Miburo; APC1 Yves Niyomwungere; Master Corporal Ferdinand Hakizimana; Menedore Nshimirimana from Mwaro Camp and Sergeant Pierre Niyongabo.
On the eve of the celebration of the 57th anniversary of the Independence of Burundi, the President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza, addressed the Nation on Sunday to wish good festival to Burundians and the foreigners residing in our country. Recalling that Burundi left the colonial yoke on July 1, 1962, he stressed that the same day, unforgettable events occurred as the bottom-up leadership of the country by nationals, the rise of national flag and the lowering and setting aside of the Belgian flag and the reverberation of the national anthem (hymn) throughout the country and in all nations.
On each anniversary of Independence, President Nkurunziza said, this is an opportunity for all Burundians to take a retrospective look at the past of our country, the difficulties encountered and the durable solutions for the future.
Before the arrival of German settlers in 1896, the Head of State recalled that our country was a Garden of Eden where milk and honey flowed, a nation characterized by a flawless administration in the political, economic, social and security areas. The Burundians were united in everything, in the organization of festivals, the sharing of food and work in groups for more production, not to mention that they knew well in the areas of respect for God and their king, livestock, crafts and pharmacopoeia for both humans and their domestic animals.
With the arrival of the German settlers, President Nkurunziza reviewed the misfortune of Burundians, including the signature of the Kiganda Treaty by King Mwezi Gisabo; the chicotte; the obligation to give whites milk, eggs and butter; the payment of taxes which enriched Europe; interethnic divisions, looting of Burundian subsoil; the disruption of political, economic and social freedoms.
With the arrival of the Belgians from 1916 to 1962, nothing has changed, Mr. Nkurunziza continued to say. He added that those new settlers even immortalized slavery and destroyed the country’s fundamental values, until 1958 when Prince Louis Rwagasore and his comrades struggled to find the promise of independence. Unfortunately, the Belgian colonists murdered him on October 13, 1961, eight months before the proclamation of independence on July 1, 1962.
The presence of the settler remained and even is believed to partake in the massacres of the innocent in 1965, 1972, 1988, 1993, President Nkurunziza insisted, adding that Burundi had a step forward with the 2005 elections that set up, in the whole country, from the bottom to the top, the democratically elected institutions that have made several achievements including the acquisition of a Constitution, the establishment of national commissions to elucidate all issues of Burundians, the National Development Plan (2018-2027), the construction of economic, social and administrative infrastructures, work in transparency, free health care, the measure to establish a political capital in Gitega (center of the country), the annual endowment of an amount of 570,000,000 BIF to communes for the well-being of the people, the financing of the national budget, repatriation of refugees and others.
To demonstrate to the world that the country is independent, well managed by nationals and is doing well, the President of the Republic announced that the government has taken commendable measures such as the suspension of contributions to the 2020 elections except for the volunteers and those who had not yet done so; the increase in funeral expenses in the event of the death of an official, from 124,000 to 800,000 BIF, the establishment of a youth bank, the resumption of annual wages and, if possible, the financial support of pensioners, the elderly and people living with disabilities.
The Head of State also said that the new Presidential House will bear the name of the valiant and first king of Burundi Ntare Rushatsi, while the Congress House of Gitega will be called “Prince Louis Rwagasore House”. Similarly, the Senate House in Gitega will become “Pierre Ngendandumwe House” in memory of that illustrious former prime minister. In a year, President Nkurunziza promised, Burundi will have built in the Nkomwe village, Kiganda commune of Muramvya province (center-west), a monument in memory of Famous “Bihome” who preferred to die in the place of King Mwezi Gisabo.
The other places that change names are the Gitega military command camp which becomes ” Ntare Rugamba Camp”; Bujumbura International Airport is named after the hero of democracy Melchior Ndadaye; the November 28 Avenue becomes “Mwezi Gisabo Avenue”; September 3rd Avenue becomes “Lt. Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana Avenue; the Louis Rwagasore Stadium becomes the “Intwari Stadium” and the November 1st Avenue will bear the name of the hero of democracy Melchior Ndadaye.