Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government has come under heavy criticism after police raided the house of the spokesman for the main opposition FRODEBU party and seized documents and computers. Pancrace Cimpaye (cheem-pah-yeh) is alleged to have verbally assaulted President Nkurunziza. But some political analysts say Cimpaye is wanted because he accused the government of being behind recent grenade attacks on the homes of five opposition politicians. Meanwhile, critics of President Nkurunziza have described the raid on Cimpaye’s home as an intimidation tactic meant to silence dissenting views.
Jean-Marie Ngendahayo is a leading member of the ruling CNDD-FDD party. From the capital, Bujumbura he tells reporter Peter Clottey the raid was in bad taste.
“Early in the morning, the house of the spokesman of the main opposition party FRODEBU, Pancrace Cimpaye was surrounded by numerous policemen and at the moment they tried to enter the house and they were holding warrants, and they searched the house. Unfortunately, Cimpaye was not there, but they have taken some items from his house. I can say that the family was actually traumatized by that move because it’s not very understandable that such a high profile person can be surrounded by so many policemen like a thief or somebody who has committed a crime, this is absolutely unacceptable,” Ngendahayo said.
He said all democratically minded Burundians should condemn such a raid, which he said could be described as intimidation.
“What has happened today in the morning, I don’t know if it was induced by the ruling party or anyone else. But in any case whoever induced that action is condemnable. It is absolutely not acceptable that a high profile person’s privacy can be invaded like a thief without any consideration to the family and the surrounding. This is absolutely not acceptable in the context of the rule of law,” he pointed out.
Ngendahayo said there have been some pronouncements lately from senior ruling party officials, which he finds objectionable.
“You know, from these last weeks and months, there has been a crescendo of verbal violence here in Burundi from certain high profile people from the CNDD-FDD. And this is why numerous of MP’s (members of parliament) from all the political parties have decided… to get together and to write a very critical letter to the president of the republic asking him to protect whoever speaks against the power, because this is a democracy, and everybody has the freedom of speech,” he said.