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Burundi ain’t Rwanda

April 16, 2009

It gets treated that way. “They both have hills!” “They both have Hutus and Tutsis in the same proportions!” “They both even had genocide…except nobody really knows about Burundi’s.”

But anyone who’s taken the Kigali-Bujumbura express knows, hills and Hutus and mutually intelligible languages that no one else in the world speaks aside, these countries are pretty damn different. Here’s another reminder, via a Human Rights Watch press release:

In the early hours of April 9, 2009, unidentified assailants raided [Ernest] Manirumva’s home and stabbed him to death. Police and colleagues told Human Rights Watch that files were strewn around his room, and that it appeared documents had been taken from his house. Manirumva was vice president of the Burundian civil society group Anti-corruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory (Observatoire de Lutte contre la Corruption et les Malversations Économiques [OLUCOME]). Since January, Manirumva, a highly respected economist, had also been vice president of an official body that regulates public procurement.

Sure, it may be hard to measure Rwanda’s success at rooting out corruption, and occasionally a government guy or two may be deposed for slipping a few francs in his back pocket. But killing anti-corruption officials? That’s so mid-90s, Burundi. Get with the program.


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