The International Crisis Group (ICG) have just released a report on the upcoming elections in Burundi. The report deals with many of the same issues that have been touched upon by our Burundi Local Correspondent, Landry Ninteretse. In particular, the report warns of the dangers of youth groups being mobilized for intimidation and politics purposes, which Landry has identified as a real problem in northern Burundi. On his recent visit to the peace village of Muriza, Landry reported on attitudes in the build-up the elections. On the positive side, he found that people were keen to avoid any divisive politics; one resident told him "If any party would come to sow division among us, we would all get up as one single man to fight against it". On the other hand, he found a fair degree of cynicism and distrust towards politicians in general. His report tallies well with the general findings of the ICG report.

The ICG report makes a recommendation for civil society groups in Burundi to "establish an observation mechanism on political violence to document all election-related incidents, monitoring in particular youth movement activities, groups of demobilised combatants affiliated to political parties and the security forces." It will be very interesting to see if such an observation mechanism is formed; and if so, how it operates.

Ruairi Nolan, Insight on Conflict, February 2010.