Failure of rebel movement-to-political party transformation of the CNDD-FDD in Burundi: an issue of balance between change and continuity

Gervais Rufyikiri
IOB working paper 2016.11

Since its accession to power following the 2005 elections, the CNDD-FDD has been continuously criticized for Burundi governance setbacks while its leaders’ behavior suggested a maquis practice continuity. This study contributes to understand the relationship between the inability of this former rebel party to succeed the democratic transition process and some key elements of its history which played against a real rebel movement-to-political party transformation. Rivalries with pre-war existing political formations, leadership discontinuity, political origin-based identity and exclusion politics, intellectual marginalization and the conditioning of fighters to commit cruelty acts were the main historical factors that have marked the evolution of CNDD-FDD movement and thus shaping its current stature. There are several evidences showing that the CNDD-FDD leadership has transferred armed movement practices from the maquis era to a post-conflict political party, leading to the conclusion that the CNDD-FDD rebel movement-to-political party transformation has completely failed.

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