By Armel Karerwa
Every Burundian citizen aged of 18 and above is going to vote in the forthcoming second general elections after conflict. A hope of a whole generation relies on these elections. Since life became normal in different hills and cities of the country, people started to make efforts to build the country- socially, economically and to protect the fragile peace. The forthcoming elections will be an important step toward a more stable and peaceful consolidated society. I interviewed different young people from different categories to know their views and expectations on these elections, to hear their hopes and fears. Here are some reactions in Bujumbura.
John N. 26 years old, member of one political party: “It is necessary to forget the former system where elections were based on the ethnic group and native region. In 2010, I want to see each Burundian free and able to choose a party on the basis of its programme. Someone who will reduce poverty, fight against unemployment and push forward the entire society.”
Déo K., 24 years old, student at Lake Tanganyika University: “Concerning the educational reform License Masters Doctorate (LMD), it should be concretely implemented to harmonize our diplomas to the level of the region-East Africa Community). We also need to adapt our educational curricula to national realities. The programs should be reviewed because till now, we continue to study according very old programmes elaborated several decades ago. This should probably reduce number of brilliant students who go abroad seeking for better educational systems and updated programmes.”
Innocent G., 28 years old, job seeker: “A national employment policy is incredibly urgent to ensure future for hundreds of thousands of pupils and students currently in schools and universities. Financial support is also necessary for youth; it would enable an active young person to start their own income activities or small business. That’s the only way to combat poverty and reduce violence.”
Gérard N., 27 years old works in a micro-finance company: “It’s completely stupid to continue giving someone a job only because he/she is from the same region or party like you! Rather, the government should privilege competence, expertise and ability. We want that government assists substantially associations and community groups that are the center of development for young people and giving them funding opportunities to sustain their projects. This factor could sensibly reduce passivity and laziness observed here and there throughout the country.”
Wilson C., 25 years, member of the civil society organization: “I hope that the government that will come out of these 2010 elections will have a strong determination to fight against the poverty that threatens the population, to eradicate corruption that is undermining our economy putting Burundi among the poorest and most corrupted countries in the world! I wish that much emphasize will be put in environment issues to ensure a better and safe future for new generations. I would wish that this new government really strives to institute a lasting peace while making the disarmament, fighting against the impunity and to respect the basic human rights. Accountability is another great concern; our leaders must never forget that they are accountable to those who elected them and act accordingly.”
Georges S 25 years old, teacher: “The democratic elections are a sign of political maturity of the population. As far as I am concerned, I believe that 5 years of a democratic elected government are favorable for a solid project of society to implement employment policy, to conduct educational reforms that prepare our young people to find good job. In these 2010 elections, I will vote for the best programme for Burundian population; it means a programme that ensures peace, security and sustainable development for all, that eradicates corruption and builds solidly its economy. Young people must get involved in a visible way in the management of public affairs-at least at local level, that’s is an indispensable phase for whoever wishes to become a great leader in future…”
Emelyne N. 25 years old, owner of a small business: “My hope regarding these elections is to experience a radical change from the bottom to the top. That means to live in a restful country where reigns peace and security, where the development is not handicapped, where the working hours are prolonged fearless. In addition, I hope to see a significant reduction of unemployment and a real improvement of the health sector. That’s my dreams for the next five years!”
It’s evident that Burundian youth expects a lot from the forthcoming elections; peace, security, employment, educational reforms, accountability are their main concerns. The truth is that different governments that ruled Burundi since its independence didn’t address properly youth concerns. Amahoro Youth Club strongly wishes that these views and opinions will be heard by our political leaders and proper measures taken to address them. Again, we are the ones who are going to elect the leaders. For all Burundian youth, a responsible vote that is likely to bring the needed change is then obligatory.