Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention in Burundi’s 2015 Election Crisis

Search for Common Ground

On April 26, 2015, the small central African nation of Burundi was plunged into its most profound political crisis since the end of a civil war. During the crisis, more than 300,000 people died - often in intercommunal violence. The nomination of President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term in office led to sustained street demonstrations by opposition forces in the capital; an attempted coup d'état; and a cycle of insecurity, fear, human rights abuses, and targeted killings. This political crisis threatens to undermine one of the most notable successes in resolving seemingly intractable conflicts in Africa in recent years. The crisis also sheds light on the influence and limits of international cooperation. Building peace in Burundi during the conflict, supporting reconciliation and the consolidation of democracy, and addressing the dynamics of the current crises are the processes that the authors have seen firsthand over the past decade. Mike Jobbins and Floride Ahitungiye both work with Search for Common Ground, an international non-governmental organization that has worked to support societal conflict transformation in the country over the past twenty years. Floride acts as Burundi Country Director, and Mike as Director of Global Affairs.

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