GITEGA, 3 February 2021 – An appeal for more political tolerance by Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye has the opposition doubting his sincerity and women furious.
Speaking in the capital, Gitega, Ndayishimiye encouraged members of his ruling party and his government to “get back on track”.
“If you see ruling party members not doing the right thing, you should point it out so that we can check ourselves and get back on track,” Ndayishimiye told members of his government and the CNDD-FDD ruling party.
Observers and diplomats in Gitega say the statement is the closest they think the Burundian leader will come to apologizing for attacks on opposition figures by his supporters.
The leader of Burundi’s main opposition party (National Congress for Liberty), Agathon Rwasa said he takes Ndayishimiye’s commitment with a pinch of salt.
Rwasa pointed to the fact that the harassment, intimidation and arbitrary arrests of his supporters and supporters of other opposition political parties continues unabated..
Feminists have also slammed Ndayishimiye for suggesting that it is okay to abuse women, especially women in polygamous relations.
“I call on all the ruling party members not to treat the opposition like co-wives, but like one of you and one who gives good advice,” the Burundian leader had told members of his government and ruling CNDD-FDD party.
“Women are not to be abused and the suggestion from the president that it is okay with his audience of mostly men giggling and encouraging him along speaks volumes about how little respect the president has for Burundian women,” said Florence Nzeyimana (not her real name), speaking under cover of anonymity.