Burundi is one of Africa's poorest and most densely
populated areas. As if that were not plentiful, the country
has been ravaged over the past 5 centuries by ethnic and
economic conflicts between the Hutus and the Tutsi. Since
the 15th century, there have been at least 5 comprehensive
genocides that have alternately gone beyond one of the
country's two main population groups. Due. lack of access to
education and health care and lack of freedom 80% of the
population lives below the poverty line and 57% of children
under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Burundi.
The Hutus are descended from the Bantu and are farmers
who are mainly collectively organized. 500 years ago, they
became subservient to the invading Tutsis - or watutsis -
who came from the north in search of fertile soil for their
cattle. The Tutsis were in possession of modern weapons and
force and force succeeded in forcing the locals, the Hutus,
into slaves. The Tutsi kings were quite powerful in the 7th
and 8th centuries, but in the 19th century the internal
rivalry between the various clans contributed to weakening
central power. This enabled an invasion of German colonizers
who in 1890 conquered Burundi. The Germans supported the
Tutsis' dominance over the Hutus, thus establishing a system
that protected the Mwami king.under the name of
Rwanda-Burundi. The country became famous for its ivory
export, which was monopolized by the colonial power.
When Germany suffered World War I defeats, Belgium took
control of the colony and again divided Rwanda and Burundi;
later they tried to sell Burundi to Congo (formerly Zaire).
The system of indirect administration, introduced by the
Belgians with the support of the Tutsi oligarchy, provoked
the founding of nationalist movements throughout the 1950s.
Here, the Party of Unity and National Progress was also
"born" under the leadership of Louis Rwagasore, who was
appointed prime minister in 1960. The Belgians feared that
Rwagasore would become a local Lumumba and he was
assassinated a few months before independence. On July 1,
1962, the country gained independence and was ruled by a
pro-Belgian Tutsi king.
The first 4 years of independence were marked by
violence; during this period no less than 5 different prime
ministers ruled. The generally somewhat chaotic atmosphere
lasted until November 1966, when Captain Michael Micombero
conducted a coup d'etat and proclaimed a new republic. The
new president launched a purge campaign against all Hutu
officials. In 1972, 350,000 Hutus were assassinated as a
result of government repression, while another 70,000 Hutus
were forced to flee.
Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in
1976 with promises to halt the persecution of the Hutu and
the establishment of a reform government. Bagaza
democratized the Party of Unity and National Progress;
started a land distribution project, which was a challenge
for the Tutsi bourgeoisie, which had close contacts with the
foreign investors and finally legalized the trade union
movement. Foreign policy made the new government closer to
Tanzania and received assistance from China as part of
efforts to develop the mining industry.
In 1979, the Party of Unity and National Progress held
its first congress after independence, and here a new
constitution was prepared, which came into force in 1981. It
was intended to help neutralize the Tutsi minority's
exploitation of the Hutus representing the majority in the
country; modernizing the political structure and introducing
socialism and establishing women's equality. These reforms
led to tensions between the government and the conservative
Catholic Church as 63 missionaries were expelled, followed
by expropriations of church property.
The 1982 election was a recognition of President
Baghaza's policy and the plans for normalizing conditions in
the country accelerated. It was, after all, the first
general election after 19 years of independence.