The Social Representativeness of FRODEDU Political Party in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 through Legislative Elections


FRODEBU is a political party founded by Melchior Ndadaye and his near collaborators with the purpose of setting up democracy in Burundi, in central Africa. June 1993 pluralist and democratic elections were won by this party which was then led by Melchior Ndadaye himself, who became the first Burundi democratically elected President, and who was killed in a military coup attempt on October 21, 1993, after three months only on power. During the 1993 electoral campaign, masses had been extremely enthusiastic, with a strong hope in a peaceful and prosperous new Burundi promised by Ndadaye. This research paper whose title is “The Social Representativeness of FRODEBU Political Party in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 through Legislative Elections” has been produced with the aim of showing the rate of the social representativeness of FRODEBU political party in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 through legislative elections. Its main research question was as follows: “What is the size of the social representativeness of FRODEBU political party through legislative elections held in Burundi from 1993 to 2020?” In order to answer this question, the researcher has used ICT first: Much information has been collected thanks to Internet. The reading of physical books and journals has also been useful. Another method which has been used was interview with informed people, notably some teachers of primary and secondary schools who work in Ngozi town in Burundi. Throughout this research, and through the results of legislative elections held in Burundi from 1993 to 2020, it has been shown that the social representativeness of FRODEBU political party is declining in this way: 72.55% in 1993, 24% in 2005, 0% in 2010 and 2015, and 0.7% in 2020.

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Ndikumana, L. (2022) The Social Representativeness of FRODEDU Political Party in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 through Legislative Elections. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 10, 335-352. doi: 10.4236/jss.2022.1013026.

1. Introduction

The early 1990’s marked the beginning of a decade of the return of multipartism in Africa in general, and in Burundi in particular. Following the promulgation of the Burundi new constitution on March 13, 1992, new political parties were approved including FRODEBU (Front pour la Démocratie au Burundi = Front for Democracy in Burundi) which had been created in May 1986 by Melchior Ndadaye1 and his near collaborators. It was legally approved in July 1992 by the July 23, 19922 Ministerial Ordinance concerning the accreditation of political parties in Burundi. That legal approval of FRODEBU gave it the automatic permission of taking part in forthcoming elections. That political party had the ambition of setting up in Burundi, democracy which is a modus vivendi as Sauvé, G. (2016: p. 89) puts it when he asserts that Democracy, for Likhatchev, is not an institutional arrangement or a formal procedure, but the “norm of life, the natural and permanent plight of society, its breathing.” The June 1993 pluralist and democratic elections were won by FRODEBU political party which was then led by Melchior Ndadaye. This one became the first Burundian President to be democratically elected, and he was murdered in a military coup attempt on October 21, 1993.

The motto of FRODEBU political party is “democracy, work, equity”. According to SAHWANYA3-FRODEBU political party:

The word democracy means a new practice of power derived from citizens,which works for the good of those citizens,without any oppression,without any discrimination.Work means that we must all stand up and work for our progress,so that the country may also be developed.This also means that we agree that everything will be got depending on our efforts,since the foreign aid comes only as a complement and is full of servitude. Equity means that all what concerns economic and social matters must be planned in a new way so that all the citizens may have an equal right in acquiring the national patrimony because God gave all those goods to all Burundians so that they may share them.And by the way if there is neither peace nor progress citizens do not share national goods in justice and equity4.

1.1. The Political Ideology of FRODEBU Political Party through President Ndadaye’s Inaugural Speech

Concerning ideology, Parenteau, D., & Parenteau, I. (2017), say: “In its merest formula, it is defined as a political strength based on a world vision and a political programme. Ideology always exists through those essential and inseparable dimensions. First of all as a world vision, it offers a way of understanding the world by giving it a sense.”

The essence of a political party is its political ideology which is, according to Freeden (2001) “a set of ideas, beliefs, values, and opinions, exhibiting a recurring pattern, that competes deliberately as well as unintentionally over providing plans of action for public policy making in an attempt to justify, explain, contest, or change the social and political arrangements and processes of a political community”.

As it can be found in the inaugural speech of the first Burundi democratically elected President, Melchior Ndadaye, the political ideology of Sahwanya-Frodebu is based on the following seven main points:

- Peace for all;

- New Burundi will be characterised by the respect of human rights in all sectors and for all;

- New Burundi will be characterised by real unity;

- New Burundi will be characterised by freedom for all;

- New Burundi will be characterised by the fact of giving priority to work;

- New Burundi will be characterised by the sharing of the national patrimony;

- New Burundi will be characterised by a sufficient concern in the planning and in the management of State affairs.

Let us deal with these seven points one by one:

1) Peace for all

As Timpson William et al. (2009: p. 46) put it,

Peacemaking at the macro level can be understood as efforts to bring nation-states or groups within a country into dialogue processes towards reconciliation.Peacemaking at the micro level can be understood as mediation of conflict between individuals or groups within local institutions and communities;people can also make peace with the planet that sustains them.

Through Melchior Ndadaye’s inaugural speech, it is highlighted that FRODEBU political party has the purpose of bringing peace at the level of the whole nation, and at the level of the individual citizen through reconciliation and collaboration of all Burundians. However that struggle is not easy to carry out. Leading a peace process is a complex and complicated task. Even the United Nations Organisation which has the mission of setting up peace throughout the world has not always been succeeding in this matter. Gëzim Visoka (2016) asserts that the United Nations Organisation has often refused to publish reports concerning its failures, its false actions, and concerning side effects caused by its direct actions or by lack of its actions in a particular context connected with peace.

2) New Burundi will be characterised by the respect of human rights in all sectors and for all

SAHWANYA-FRODEBU brings Burundians an ideology of new Burundi founded on human rights. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2, it is stated what follows:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration,without distinction of any kind,such as race,colour,sex,language,religion,political or other opinion,national or social origin,property,birth or other status.

Furthermore,no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political,jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs,whether it be independent,trust,non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

For FRODEBU, Burundi of last years was characterised by a single-party based political system, dominated by UPRONA political party only. FRODEBU political party aims at setting up a new pluralist system in which human rights will be more respected, unlike what was observed in Burundi in 1965, in 1969, and notably in 19725. Nevertheless, President Ndadaye did not succeed in doing this.

One would have told him these words: “Scis vincere Ndadaye,sed uti victoria nescis(You know how to win Ndadaye, but you do not know how to take advantage of your victory). Such words were told to General Hannibal6 who did not manage to benefit from his victory over Romans. As a matter of fact Ndadaye did not manage to protect his own right to life himself, neither could he protect the human rights of other Burundians. The then Burundian army had adopted the ethnic group-based politics of that time, and did not let life to Melchior Ndadaye. The latter knew how to win elections, but he did not know how to protect his power, his own life and that of his citizens. That is why he was murdered on October 21, 1993, and his death coincides with the loss of hope in the new Burundi which he had so much wished during his electoral campaign. Unlike the Roman General Jules Caesar who said: “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I won) to talk about his unexpected easy and quick victory over King Pharnace II in 47 Before Christ, President Melchior Ndadaye would have said: “Veni, vici, vidi”, that is “I came, I won, I saw”. He left his exile in Rwanda for coming to set up democracy in Burundi, he won June 1993 elections, and became the President of the Republic of that country. However despite his triumph, he saw the army which was expected to protect him and his political system come to kill him. New prosperous and peaceful Burundi which he had promised to his electorate suddenly and brutally became an unfortunate and desperate nation full of blood and tears.

3) New Burundi will be characterised by real unity

FRODEBU political party seeks the real unity of Burundinas. That party talks about the real unity of Burundians because the charter of national unity voted on February 5, 1991 in a referendum does not seem to reassure all Burundians, since only three years before this referendum, that is, in 1988, there had been identity-based mass killings in Ntega and Marangara districts. That charter seems, for FRODEBU party, a political strategy for strengthening the hegemony of UPRONA party, rather than a real will of seeking for national concord.

4) New Burundi will be characterised by freedom for all

SAHWANYA-FRODEBU political party has the purpose of becoming a party of feedom for all. Nevertheless, some of its members did not understand the meaning of that freedom for all. They were supposing that acquisition of freedom for the Inziraguhemuka of FRODEBU was meaning the loss of freedom for the Badasigana7 of UPRONA. This urged the latter to lose hope and, some of them agreed with the army when it decided to do the physical elimination of President Ndadaye and some of his collaborators during the night of October 21, 1993. For example the use of the term Gususurutsa which pragmatically means here to kick all UPRONA members from their jobs and from their positions in the government angered the latter and caused them to lose all hope in the so-called new Burundi of freedom for all promised by President Ndadaye and his partisans during his 1993 electoral campaign.

5) New Burundi will be characterised by the fact of giving priority to work

As it has already been said, work is one of the three watchwords of SAHWANYA-FRODEBU political party along with democracy and equity. Without work, individuals, families and State-Nations cannot exist. Work is the pillar of the existence of any community in the world.

6) New Burundi will be characterised by the sharing of the national patrimony

For FRODEBU political party, democracy is impossible when there is no fair share of the national patrimony. However, there is no nation in the world where all citizens are poor or rich at the same level. There are always economic inequalities between people. It is up to each one to struggle for one’s survival first, then for that of the family, and finally for the development of the whole local, national, and international community. No citizen can be appointed Minister of Eduction one day in his country, if he has no university degree. Nowadays we live in a global community characterised by a daily competition in which it is only the better who wins.

7) New Burundi will be characterised by a sufficient concern in the planning and in the management of State affairs

FRODEBU political party wants to plan and manage well the res publica8. Its purpose is to banish the brutal decision taking as well as State finances are concerned, and to get rid of bad practices of corruption and economic embezzlement. But all this is only a dream and a way of showing its good intentions because this political party did not have the opportunity of doing mutatis mutandis (change what is to be changed), because of its too short term on power (three months only) and because of the forced involvement of other political actors in its missed political system. Let us shift to the political ideology of FRODEBU political party through its anthem.

1.2. The Political Ideology of FRODEBU Party through Its Anthem9

The web site defines political ideology in the following words: “Aside from being the political science of ideas, political ideologies are also defined as: 1) A system of beliefs about politics. 2) A view of the world held by a social class or group of people. 3) Political ideas that embody or articulate class or social interests. 4) A political doctrine that asserts a monopoly of truth”. According to Romano, A., Sutter, M., Liu, J. H., & Balliet, D. (2021), “Political ideology can be defined as a set of beliefs about the proper order of society and how it can be achieved”. That is what can be seen in FRODEBU’s anthem. What follows is that anthem of FRODEBU poltical party, its translation in English, and its interpretation:

Kanura kanura burakeye,

Kaze kaze muri FRODEBU,

Umugambwe Sahwanya,

Uharanira Demokarasi.

Be watchful,be watchful,

Welcome welcome within FRODEBU,

The party of unity,

Which fights for Democracy.

The militants of FRODEBU political party invite each Burundian to get up and join FRODEBU party, the party of unity, which fights for democracy. That membership was massive in 1993 notably among Burundians of the Hutu ethnic group who were taking FRODEBU party as their saviour from neocolonialism imposed on them by the political system which followed independence, under the aegis of UPRONA political party. Thatneocolonialism was, according to them, characterised by the partisan clientelisme based on ethnicity and regionalism. At least Melchior Ndadaye was not a member of the Tutsi ethnic group, and his geographic area of origin was not Bururi in the south of Burundi.

Murundi wese ukunda igihugu,

Kanura,kanura burakeye,

Ijukira Demokarasi,

Uburundi bwacu butere imbere.

Any patriotic Burundian,

Be watchful,be watchful,it is dawn,

Be keen on democracy,

So that our Burundi may progress.

According to FRODEBU political party, any Burundian who is a patriot ought to work for having democracy, source of progress in Burundi. Any political party should strengthen democracy based on multipartism, by favouring the access to power through electoral competition. As Palmans, E. (2011: pp. 48-49), puts it,

A strong and sustainable democracy depends on the existence of a political plurality of well operational political parties.The latter are crucial actors in the putting together of various interests,in the recruitment and presentation of candidates,and in the elaboration of competitive society projects offering to the people a choice regarding those who govern them.In a democracy,open competition between political parties occurs through elections in which the people expresses its choice.Elections as the expression of the government by the people are essential in the consolidation of democracy,even though they are not the unique important factor in the fulfilment of democracy.

Democracy comprises three main elements, namely a political system, a set of values, and a plan for decision making. For FRODEBU political party, democracy ought to be the pillar of the modus vivendi of all Burundians. That party is convinced that there is no minimum of development without democracy. Nevertheless one may wonder if real democracy is possible in poverty. According to Przeworski, A., Alvarez, R. M., Alvarez, M. E., Cheibub, J. A., Limongi, F., & Neto, F. P. L. (2000: p. 3), there is a minimum of development which is required so that democracy may be possible. They say it in these words: “Democracy may naturally emerge after the society has undergone some necessary economic and social changes”.

Demokarasi mbe ni iki?

Nukwishira nukwizana,

Mu gihugu camavukiro,

Ata wandya wangura.

But what is democracy?

It is freedom,

In the motherland,

Without any form of oppression.

For the militants of FRODEBU political party, democracy is the fact of enjoying freedom in the strict respect of human dignity in the motherland. FRODEBU seeks a new Burundi in which all the citizens could be equal. Without that equality of democracy agents, real democracy is utopian. As Robert Post (2006) says, “Democracy demands equality of the democratic agency, which is different from the forms of equality which derive from the values of distributive justice or from equity”. That equality does not concern ordinary citizens only. It also concerns political leaders who are the main agents of democracy. Melchior Ndadaye and his party wish in Burundi the existence of a direct democracy in which citizens elects their leaders themselves. According to Jean-Benoît PILET and Luca TOMINI11, “Direct democracy is based on logics in which citizenship and the individual’s participation are necessary conditions for the functioning of the system. Moreover, contemporary representative democracy, is based ab origine on the representation and the protection of the individual in his private dimension, in relation to the State.”

Ntiwigire sindabibazwa,

Kanura nyabuna burakeye,

Ntube mpemukendamuke,

Rwanira agateka ka muntu.

Dont be indifferent,

But rather get up its dawn,

Dont betray others for your own survival,

Fight for human rights.

FRODEBU political party has the aim of bringing human rights to all Burundians. No betrayal can be allowed in this fight. According to the web site belonging to UNO,

Democracy offers an environment which respects human rights and basic freedoms,and in which the will of the people is freely expressed and implemented.People have a say in the decision takings and can cause the decision takers to be accountable to them.Men and women have the same rights and no one undergoes discrimination.

Therefore for SAHWANYA-FRODEBU political party, there is no democracy if human rights are not respected. All the people are born equal. They deserve equal consideration from the governments of their States.

Kaze urisanze muri FRODEBU,

Uzohasanga Inziraguhemuka,

Muzofatanya urugendo,

Mu nzira ya Demokarasi.

Welcome within FRODEBU,

You will find Inziraguhemuka13 there,

You will walk together,

In the way towards Democracy.

FRODEBU militants named Inziraguhemuka are ready to welcome within themselves any Burundian who is ready to accompany them in the struggle for democracy. It is the political party of all Burundians without regard to their geographic regions of origin, without regard to their ethnic groups, briefly, without any discrimination.

The anthem of FRODEBU political party is rather superficial. It has the purpose of raising the awareness of the grassroots population, and it looks like a tagline. It suggests democracy as being the modus vivendi of the Inziraguhemuka, as the only mode of political governance which must lead the Burundian people towards the national progress. Nevertheless, it does not specify the modalities of the implementation of that democracy in Burundi. Even the definition of democracy (Freedom in the motherland without any form of oppression) provided in this anthem seems to be an extremely simplistic one, and is far from being correct, since democracy is more than that, because freedom is merely one aspect of democracy. FRODEBU party does not explain that so-called freedom. One may ask: Freedom of doing what? The freedom of one citizen ends where the freedom of another one begins; therefore it is limited.

1.3. Research Problem

According to, “A research problem is a specific issue, difficulty, contradiction, or gap in knowledge that you will aim to address in your research. You might look for practical problems aimed at contributing to change, or theoretical problems aimed at expanding knowledge.” This research paper focuses on the latter point. The main research question of this paper has been as follows: “What is the size of the social representativeness of FRODEBU political party through legislative elections held in Burundi from 1993 to 2020?” This question has been put for reaching a specific purpose.

1.4. Research Target

The aim of this research was to show the rate of the social representativeness of FRODEBU political party in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 through legislative elections. In order to reach this target, a methodology was necessary.

2. Research Methods

According to “Research methodology simply refers to the practical ‘how’ of any given piece of research. More specifically, it’s about how a researcher systematically designs a study to ensure valid and reliable results that address the research aims and objectives.” For producing this paper, the researcher has resorted to some procedures. The first one has been the data collection method.

2.1. Data Collection Method

For collecting data, it has been question of using ICT first. Much information has been obtained through internet. The reading of physical books and journals has also been useful. Another strategy has been the acquiring of information through interview with informed people, notably some teachers of primary and secondary schools who work in Ngozi town in Burundi. After having collected the data, the researcher analysed them.

2.2. Data Analysis Method

In analysing data for this research, a table and a graphic representation have been taken as references in the framework of quantitative research. A narrative interpretation through words has been useful especially in data discussing on the basis of quantitative and qualitative findings obtained during this investigation. Then the researcher has used mixed methods, namely quantative and qualitative ones.

3. Results

3.1. Defining Results

As found on

The results section of the research paper is where you report the findings of your study based upon the information gathered as a result of the methodology [or methodologies]you applied.The results section should simply state the findings,without bias or interpretation,and arranged in a logical sequence.The results section should always be written in the past tense.A section describing results is particularly necessary if your paper includes data generated from your own research.When formulating the results section,its important to remember that the results of a study do not prove anything.Research results can only confirm or reject the research problem underpinning your study.However,the act of articulating the results helps you to understand the problem from within,to break it into pieces,and to view the research problem from various perspectives.

As it has already been pointed out in the Methods section, the results of this research have been displayed using a table and a corresponding graphic for illustration.

3.2. Results of FRODEBU Political Party in Legislative Elections from 1993 to 2020

As it is illustrated in Table 1, these results are as follows: In June 29, 1993 legislative elections, FRODEBU political party got a score of 72.55%; On July 4, 2005, it got 24%; On July 23, 2010, and on June 29, 2015, it got 0%; whereas on May 20, 2020, it got the score of 0.7% in those elections.

4. Discussion on Results

4.1. Defining Discussion

According to

Table 1. Results of FRODEBU political party in legislative elections held in Burundi from 1993 to 2020.

The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe the significance of your findings in light of what was already known about the research problem being investigated,and to explain any new understanding or fresh insights about the problem after youve taken the findings into consideration.The discussion will always connect to the introduction by way of the research questions or hypotheses you posed and the literature you reviewed,but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction;the discussion should always explain how your study has moved the readers understanding of the research problem forward from where you left them at the end of the introduction. This section is often considered the most important part of a research paper because it most effectively demonstrates your ability as a researcher to think critically about an issue,to develop creative solutions to problems based on the findings,and to formulate a deeper,more profound understanding of the research problem you are studying.

In this research, an analysis of the results of FRODEBU party in legislative elections held in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 is going to be provided under the form of an interpretative narrative. Then, after that definition of discussion, what follows is the very interpretation of the findings as illustrated in Figure 1.

4.2. FRODEBU Results in June 29, 1993 Legislative Elections

During the 1993 electoral campaign, FRODEBU political party resorts to a protester and populist political speech. Its addresses are repeated within the daily conversations of many Burundians. Defining UPRONA as a political party of missed opportunities (Sunzu, 1993), FRODEBU promises a downfall19 to anyone who would intend to stop it on its way to the imminent victory. FRODEBU militants are saying that they are millions and millions of people, and that UPRONA militants are so few that they cannot defeat them in war. Such

Figure 1. The results of FRODEBU political party in legislative elections from 1993 to 2020.

provocative words are likely to open a room for a post electoral insecurity to take place.

Following those speeches, ordinary people are going to imitate those taglines in their villages. Thus, for instance, songs like this one are heard, even from the children’s mouths:

Botha was first elected to the national parliament from the town of George in the Western Cape, as a member of the National Party in 1948 at the beginning of the party’s more than four decade tenure. Botha’s relationship with the Coloured people of South Africa was ambivalent. As Assistant and Acting Secretary of the Cape National Party’s special Committee of Inquiry into Coloured Affairs, he was party to the recommendations accepted by the 1945 NP Congress, which included advice to establish a Coloured Representatives Council. Despite this, he was at the forefront of those who ended Coloured representation in Parliament in 1956.

In October 1958 Dr H. F. Verwoerd appointed Botha as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, an office he held for three years. South Africa became a republic on 31 May 1961. In August of that year Prime Minister Verwoerd offered Botha a position in his cabinet as Minister of Community Development and Coloured Affairs. Verwoerd drew B. J. Vorster into the same cabinet as Minister of Justice. Both men were known to have formidable strongman qualities, mastery of the National Party (NP) machine, and the determination to pursue Verwoerd’s segregationist policy of Apartheid without compromise. Visited on Wednesday November 16, 2022 at 12:20.

Akarenganyo ka Mporona20,

Ibihano vya Mporona,

Ntaco bitaniyeko,

Nintwaro ya Petero Buda.

UPRONAs injuste,

UPRONAs punishments,

Are not different,

From the political system of Pieter Botha21.

Besides the emotional offer, FRODEBU political party seems to have an ambitious and quite inachievable programme. The only purpose of its elite is to come on power. This is what Souaré (2017) says about all African political parties, when he asserts that “Parties are tools for the collective human action of the political elite, either politicians aiming at controlling the government, or government or public officials who want to control the masses.” FRODEBU political party presents forty-six proposals which benefit from the rural inhabibitants’ sympathy (Reyntjens, 1994). Those proposals which are summarised in President Melchior NDADAYE’s inaugural speech, would be the pillars of the new prosperous and peaceful Burundi which the latter had promised to Burundians in case FRODEBU party would win elections. Those proposals contained the feeling of rejecting misdeeds done by the former dictatorships, felt and shown by the popular majority.

During the 1993 electoral campaign, leaders of FRODEBU political party put forward their will to bring change in Burundi. They want change in politics: Power, at all levels, must be wielded by democratically elected representatives from various regions of Burundi, from different ethnic groups, and must work for the benefit of all the citizens. On the level of diplomacy, FRODEBU political party wants a Burundian nation which cooperates with other world nations in harmony and which respects all the commitments taken by former governments towards regional and international organisations, in the framework of peace making. Economically, this political party insists on work for producing much, and needs a fair share of the national wealth without any discrimination. Private initiatives and cooperatives must be promoted so that ordinary citizens may benefit from them. The new peaceful and prosperous Burundi promised by Melchior NDADAYE to the Burundian people quickly became the new Burundi of blood and tears planned by all the world’s devils.

4.3. From 2005 to 2020: The Electoral Collapse of FRODEBU Political Party

Since 2005, the 1993 excitement towards FRODEBU political party is no longer observed. One can note two essential moments:

- The period of a “sanction-vote”

- The moment of the forthcoming leadership resulting from the “Nyakurisationprocess

1) The period of a “sanction-vote”

It is worth reminding that in 1993, Burundians had voted for a new prosperous and peaceful Burundi in which there would be no divisions. However, after three months only, the situation changed in the negative sense. The fact that President Melchior Ndadye was a member of the majority ethnic group was not enough for setting up democracy in Burundi. According to Ihl, O. (2014), “The general will cannot be represented by the majority people only in the urns. It is even the main limit of the great narrative of representative democracy.”

In 1993, Burundi is still in the context of its identity-based quarrels. FRODEBU political party is decapitated and enters in a functional paralysis. It seems to want to pact with its enemy, by signing various agreements which are taken as compromises (Kigobe, Kajaga)22.

In accordance with 2005 legislative results, one may adapt the following postulate: FRODEBU political party found itself in the standing of a naked king, in the standing of a tiger made using papers.By leaving it, its former militants have understood that the political strength it has been defending is only an illusion since there is no military wing for protecting and completing it. This political party is not victim of its defective programme. It is rather defeated by the conjoncture, that is, the socio-political environment prevailing in Burundi at that time. We are in a situation where the reform of the army and the police is required. FRODEBU political party does not fit in such a circumstance. Its words are far from being changed into concrete actions. Its political will has not been enough for bringing change in Burundi.

2) The moment of the forthcoming leadership resulting from the “Nyakurisation23process

The death of President Melchior NDADAYE left a political party of ambitious political orphans. Divergent views which were latent between FRODEBU leaders increase after the 2005 electoral defeat in the legislative election. Already after elections, the apathy or the inability to respond of its chairman Doctor Jean MINANI was said to be the cause of that defeat. Doctor Jean MINANI is then replaced at the chairmanship of FRODEBU party by Léonce NGENDAKUMANA, the former President of the National Assembly.

When the former rebellion of CNDD-FDD takes power in 2005 through an overwhelming electoral victory, a debate appears within FRODEBU political party: Is it worth collaborating with the new ruling party? Or does it fit to be in the radical opposition? There are two divergent views: The first option is supported by Doctor Jean MINANI and Jean de Dieu MUTABAZI. For them, maybe because of ethnic acquaintance, it would be reasonable to give time to the new ruling party, in order to give it the opportunity of carrying out necessary changes.

In the other camp, which has the majority, there is Léonce NGENDAKUMANA and other historic leaders of FRODEBU (Sylvestre NTIBANTUNGANYA, Frédéric BAMVUGINYUMVIRA, Domitien NDAYIZEYE, Pancrace CIMPAYE), who say that their party must be in the opposition group. Their radicalism24 caused them to exclude the first group from the party. Doctor Jean MINANI founded another political party named FRODEBU-NYAKURI IRAGI RYA NDADAYE (REAL FRODEBU LEGACY OF NDADAYE), taking with him a half of FRODEBU Members of Parliament in the National Assembly.

The fall of FRODEBU political party was increased by the boycott of 2010 and 2015 elections and resulted in the 2020 electoral defeat (only 0.7% of expressed suffrages in legislative elections held the same day as the district and presidential ones). Megalomania, exaltation of ego, to which is added a lack of perspective in the organisational governance of FRODEBU, led various leaders of this party towards a collective political death that they should unanimously accept.

5. Conclusion

This is the end of this research paper whose title was: “The Social Representativeness of FRODEBU Political Party in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 through Legislative Elections.” It is in the framework of political science, which is, according to Gazibo, M., & Jenson, J. (2004: p. 1) “a branch of social sciences which applies scientific methods for analysing and understanding political phenomena.” In the Introduction section, it has been said that the aim of this research was to show the rate of the social representativeness of FRODEBU political party in Burundi from 1993 to 2020 through legislative elections. So as to reach this target, a main research question was put, which was, “What is the size of the social representativeness of FRODEBU political party through legislative elections held in Burundi from 1993 to 2020?” From the findings which have been displayed in the Results section, it has been pointed out that the legislative electoral score of FRODEBU political party, which has been a ruling political party in Burundi for one hundred days (from July 10, 1993 to October 21, 1993), went decrescendo shifting from 72.55% in 1993, to 24% in 2005, to 0% in 2010 and 2015, and then to 0.7% in 2020.

This paper has been structured in this way: At the beginning there was an Introduction section. This has provided the background about FRODEBU political party, emphasizing notably on its political ideology through President Ndadaye’s inaugural speech, and through its anthem. This section was followed by the Methods section which has comprised the data collection method and the data analysis method. This section was also followed by results one, which showed the performances of FRODEBU political party in legislative elections held in Burundi from 1993 to 2020. This result section was followed by a discussion on those results, which was nothing else but their narrative interpretations.

This paper has been produced in the context of contributing in highlighting the place of a former ruling political party in Africa. Here we have the case of FRODEBU political party in Burundian nation. It shows a clear instance where that former ruling party no longer gathers enthusiastic crowds around its ideology for leading the country, but where such a party has collapsed until it reaches the score of 0% in legislative elections.

In putting an end to this research paper, it is recommended to other researchers to study such cases in various countries, focusing their attention on legislative elections. They can also orient their research to district, senatorial or presidential elections according to the situations. It is also possible to focus one’s attention on the role played by women in their former ruling political parties during the electoral campaign in Africa, and select the case of a specific country and a specific political party.


I thank Professor Jean-Michel De Waele politologist of Bruxelles Free University, Professor Nicodème Bugwabari politologist of the University of Burundi, Professor Peter Okebukola of Lagos State University, and Professors Dieudonné Gahungu and Juma Shabani who are leaders of the University of Burundi Doctoral School for their efforts in facilitating my research activities at the University of Burundi Doctoral School in the field of political science. I also thank Dr. Father Apollinaire Bangayimabaga, Rector of Ngozi University, Professor Liboire Ngendahayo, Director of Academic Affairs at Ngozi University, and Mr. Libère Ndayisenga, Director of Administrative and Financial Affairs at Ngozi University, for their moral and financial support for the publication of this research paper.


1Burundian Statesman, born on 28th March 1953 at Nyabihanga, Muramvya province (Burundi), he died on 21st October 1993 near Bujumbura. From Hutu origin, Melchior Ndadaye spends many years in exile in neighbouring Rwanda, after the mass murder of about 200,000 Hutu people in 1972. After having fled ethnic violences, he studies in the teacher training centre in Butare, near the border between Rwanda and his country. He became a school teacher and a part time lecturer at University. When he returns to Burundi, Ndadaye works in a neurological and psychiatric centre before becoming the person in charge of trainings within the saving and credit cooperative. After having spent five years at this position, he undertakes banking courses by correspondence. Appointed adviser near the Minister of rural development in 1989, he then works in the BIAO Meridian bank until 1993.As he has entered in politics since the year 1970, Ndadaye is one of the founders of FRODEBU (Front pour la démocratie au Burundi : Front for Democracy in Burundi) in 1986. This party worked in secret first, and was officially recognised in 1991. After two years, in June 1993, the Hutu party wins two thirds of seats in the National Assembly, in coalition with two other political parties. Ndadaye becomes the first Hutu president to come on power. His triumph during the first free elections held in Burundi after twenty-six years of a military political system indicates the end of the domination of Hutu people by Tutsi ones. The latter firstly seem to accept their historic defeat. Known to be calm and to lead FRODEBU with ability during the hard democratic transition, Ndadaye appoints a very inclusive government led by a Tutsi Prime Minister named Sylvie Kinigi. During his presidency, he promises to work for the national reconciliation, and to promote human rights in the country. His term is however undermined by a brutal and premature end in October: he is murdered in a military coup attempt plotted by the former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza and colonel Jean Bikomagu, commander in chief. It is the beginning of a civil war which will result in the killing of 50,000 to 100,000 people. Visited on Saturday December 12, 2020 at 17:00.

2 Visited on Saturday December 12, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

3The Kirundi word “SAHWANYA” means someone who unites people.

4Propaganda leaflet of SAHWANYA-FRODEBU party during 2020 multicolored elections.

5On April 26, 1972, an assembly of UPRONA party commands all those who have not yet joined JRR (Jeunesse Révolutionnaire Rwagasore: Rwagasore Revolutionary Youth) to do it immediately. President Micombero is asked to enact a law which sets up the supremacy of UPRONA political party. On April 27, 1972, weapons are distributed to Tutsi intellectuals and to all influential people within the population. However, fortunateley or unfortunately, weapons are given to some Hutu people by error. On April 29, 1972, the distribution of weapons is ended at Bururi (a province which is essentially inhabited by the Tutsi population). Afterwards, King NTARE V will be murdered on April 29, 1972 at night by unidentified men. On May 1, 1972, the Bujumbura radio station broadcasts that fightings are going on in the south of Burundi. It was said that the actors of those fightings were the Mulelists from Zaïre, supprted by Rwandan monarchists and Burundians. Visited on Monday November 09, 2020 at 13:10.

6In 218 before Jesus Christ, Hannibal, the general of Carthage crossed the Alps with his army. Taking victory after victory, he wants to dominate the Roman Republic by occupying its territory before Rome has said its last word with its victory over Hannibal under the commandment of Scipion in 202 before Jesus Christ. Visited on Thursday November 12, 2020 at 8:40 a.m.

7Name given to the members of UPRONA political party to mean inseparable people.

8La chose publique (The public thing).

9Source: The office of FRODEBU political party. The original text is in Kirundi. The researcher has translated it in English.

10This web site was visited on May 18, 2022 at 14:28.

11This was read in Politique Comparée, a collective book, Chapter IV, p. 154. Foreword of Yves DELOYE and Jean-Michel DE WAELE.

12Visited on Monday November 09, 2020 at 10:37 a.m.

13Members of SAHWANYA-FRODEBU political party are called “Inziraguhemuka”, that is, people who are always faithful.

14This web site was visited on Sunday April 17, 2022 at 10:51 a.m.

15This web site was visited on Sunday April 17, 2022 at 9:26 a.m.

16Web site visited on Monday April 18, 2022 at 9:40 a.m.

17Many sources recognise that, since 2010 elections, Frodebu has no more much influence in Burundi and no more plays a dominant role on the Burundian political scene (professor emeritous Jan. 29, 2013; independent consultant Jan. 28, 2013; professor of philosophy Jan. 28, 2013). The independent consultant (Jan. 28, 2013) and professor emeritous (Jan. 29, 2013) have both asserted that, by withdrawing from the electoral process, Frodebu has marginalised itself and has not much influence any longer. Those same sources specify that the party is “divided” (professor emeritousJan. 29, 2013) and is not “organised” (independent consultant Jan. 28, 2013). According to the professor emeritous, the party “is only the shadow of itself” (Jan. 29, 2013). The independent consultant affirmed that Frodebu has “little credibility” in the eyes of the electorate and that it is then no longer “a threat” for the ruling party (Jan. 28, 2013). Other sources recognise that the ruling party does not take Frodebu as “a threatening one” (professor of philosophy Jan. 28, 2013; professor emeritous Jan. 29, 2013). Visited on Wednesday Dec. 16, 2020 at 10:23 a.m.

18Web site vited on Monday April 18, 2022 at 10:08 a.m.

19Melchior Ndadaye’s electoral campaign speech at Cibitoke, Buganda district, in May 1993.

20Mporona is a pejorative name used by FRODEBU militants during the 1993 electoral campaign, to mean UPRONA party, in order to minimise its political power.

21This song was popular in Muhanga district, Kayanza province, in the north of Burundi, during the 1993 electoral campaign in Burundi.

22The agreements of Kajaga made it possible to find a successor of President Melchior Ndadaye first, then those of Kigobe resulted in the signing of a Government Convention in September 1994. Visited on Wednesday December 23, 2020 at 8:27 a.m.

23The term “Nyakurisation” (derived from the Rundi adjective “Nyakuri” which means real and original) is a noun which was coined by Burundians to mean the dissidence phenomenon of some former militants of opposition political parties who went to create other political parties which were collaborating with the ruling party according to their former political fellows. This has been obvious by the creation of “FRODEBU Nyakuri Iragi rya Ndadaye” (The Real and Original FRODEBU, the Legacy of Ndadaye) by Doctor Jean Minani, and by the setting up of FNL Nyakuri Iragi rya Gahutu Rémy (The Real and Original FNL, the legacy of Rémy Gahutu). The latter was founded by Methusela Nikobamye, also nicknamed Pasteur Habimana during the PALIPEHUTU-FNL rebellion struggle, whose he was the spokesperson.

24Radicalism, which comes from the Latin word radix meaning ‘root’, gives the sense of a ‘root and branch’ or fundamental approach to politics, rather than one that ‘makes do and mend’. Radicalism suggests complete rather than gradual change. Although traditionally associated with the left, Radicalism is also used as a label to describe extreme right-wing parties, such as the Italian Fascists, the German Nazis, and the British National Front. Visited on Monday November 28, 2022 at 12:22. In the Burundian context, radicalism means the inability of one Burundian citizen to tolerate the political opinion of another one.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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