Friday, February 6, 2009

Burundi (1959 - 1993)

Height differences among the residents, Twa, Hutu andTutsi, were the roots of all troubles. Twa was too short, Hutu were medium and Tutsi were tall.The tall group raised cattle and tended to be politically and economically dominant. Those having middle height were poor and more agrarian. This prompted the use of what became known as the "ten-cows" rule.Those individuals who owned more than ten cows were described as "well born," equated with caucasious and given privileges by the colonists.The ten-cow rule was not universally accepted and the existence of " Petits Tutsi" continues to cause much debate in the field. This was clear from the the Belgian census of 1933-34 and subsequent division of races which showed latent regional and ethnic conflicts.
On January 20, 1959, Burundi's ruler Mwami MwambutsaIV asked from the belgian Minister of Colonies, a separation of Burundi and Rwanda and a dissolution of Runda-Urundi. Six months later, political parties formed to bring attention to burundi's independence from Eurrope and to separate Rwanda fromBurundi. The first of these political parties was the African National Union of Ruanda -Urundi.
A Hutu rebellion took place in 1965 leading to brutal Tutsi retaliations.MwambutsaIV was deposed by his son , Ntare V, in 1965.Ntare in turn was overthrown in the same year military coup by Premier Michel Micombero, also a Tutsi,in 1970-71, a civil war erupted, leaving more than 1,00,000 Hutu dead.On November 1, 1976,Lt. Col.Jean baptiste Bagazaled a coup and assumed the presidency. He suspende the constitution and announced that a 30- member Supreme Revolutionary councilwould be the governing body.In Sep., 1987, Bagaza was overthrown by Maj. Pierre Buyoya, who became president. Ethnic hatred was again flaredupin Aug., 1988, and about 20,000 Hutu were slaughtered. Buyoya , however, tried to reform.
Melchior NDadaye, won the counry's first democratic presidential election, held in June 2, 1993. Ndadaye was the first Hutu to assume power in Burundi.

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