THE HISTORY OF BURUNDI - Important Dates and Persons - Page 2

SOURCES: Lemarchand; Chrétien; Reyntjens; Naikumana; Ndarubagiye, Songore, IRIN, RTNB, OCHA Burundi, AGnews, ninde.org.


The First Republic 1966 - 1976.


Summary period 1962 - 1993 (DK)

From independence in 1962, until the elections of 1993, Burundi was controlled by a series of military dictators, all from the Tutsi minority. These years saw extensive ethnic violence including major incidents in 1964 and the late 1980s, and the Burundian genocide in 1972. In 1993, Burundi held its first democratic elections, which were won by the Hutu-dominated Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU). FRODEBU leader Melchior Ndadaye became Burundi's first Hutu President, but a few months later he was assassinated by a group of Tutsi army officers. The killing plunged Burundi into a vicious civil war.

In retaliation for Ndadaye's killing, Hutu extremists massacred thousands of Tutsi civilians. The Tutsi-dominated army responded by massacring similar amounts of Hutus. Years of instability followed until 1996, when former president Pierre Buyoya took power in a coup.

Ntare V is overthrown by prime minister Michael Micombero (Tutsi) and leaves Burundi. Burundi is proclaimed a republic and a single party state with Uprona as the only authorised party.



The Micombero regime announced that a Hutu-engineered coup had been planned for the night of September 16-17. This led to the arrest of about 30 Hutu personalities in the army and the government followed by the imprisonment and subsequent execution of scores of Hutu soldiers. The army becomes increasingly Hima Tutsi dominated.

Charges of conspiracy were brought against seven leading Muramvya personalities. The political situation was now incredibly tense.


Prime Minister: Albin Nyamoya (2nd time) (Tutsi)

1972/July/15 -


Albin Nyamoya

Ntare V returns to Burundi due to fals premises and is detaind in Gitega.


Micombero suddenly decides to dismiss all the members of the cabinet. A few hours later, a Hutu-led insurgency in Nyanza-Lac and Rumonge. Ntare V is murdered in Gitega. The king was buried in a common grave in Gitega Province with about hundred people killed the same day.


Assassinat du Roi Ntare V, - Alexis Sinduhije (Radio Publique Africaine - RPA)


The government launches gruesome counterattacks. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people are killed, mostly Hutu. By August, almost every educated Hutu was either dead or in exile. This was to go down as one of the most gruesome attacks on human beings in history. With the loss of all educated Hutu, the Hutu were reduced to an underclass.


The Second Republic 1976 - 1987.

Lt. Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza (Tutsi) overthrows Micombero’s regime. Bagaza’s justification for the coup was a perceived state of stagnation in the country.


President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza (Tutsi) (b. 1946)

1976/Nov/2 -


Prime Minister: Edouard Nzambimana (Tutsi) (b. 1945)

Edouard Nzambimana

1976/Nov/12 -


The prime minister post is abolished.

1978/Oct/13 -



The Third Republic 1987 - 1993.

Pierre Buyoya

Maj. Pierre Buyoya (Tutsi) (b. 1949)  seizes power in a bloodless coup.



Civil war


Outbreak of violence in Ntega and Marangara. About 20,000 are killed, mostly Hutu.

Buyoya appoints a National Commission to Study the Question of National Unity. The first official statement recognising the centrality of the Hutu-Tutsi problem.


Prime Minister: Adrien Sibomana (Hutu) (b. 1953)

1988/Oct/19 -1993/july/10

La Constitution burundaise is approved by referendum.


Multiparty politics were introduced; see political parties.



In 1993 multiparty politics were introduced in Burundi and June 01. 1993 there was a Presidential election that very much became a two-party affair between The Front démocratique du Burundi (Frodebu), with Melchior Ndadaye (Hutu) as presidential candidate, and Buyoya’s Uprona. Frodebu claimed to be a party for both Hutu and Tutsi.

However, starting at the end of 1992, it became clear that ethnicity was becoming a major electoral element. Melchior Ndadaye wins (64.75%). He forms a coalition of FRODEBU and UPRONA.     


Attempted coup by Tutsi military.


Ndadaye’s government is inaugurated.

Prime Minister Sylvie Kinigi (f)(Tutsi) to 1994/Feb/7

Sylvie Kinigi

President Melchior Ndadaye (Hutu) (b. 1953 - d. 1993)

1993/July/10 -


Melchior Ndadaye

Successful coup by elements of the armed forces and Ndadaye is assassinated together with a number of other central Frodebu actors.

The post-Ndadaye era saw the creation of new Hutu-dominated resistance movements and since Ndadaye’s assassination there has been an ongoing civil war. The civil war has taken classic features of a guerrilla war where the population is being used as both a target and shield by the government’s army and the rebels.


François Ngeze (Tutsi) Chairman Committee for Public Salvation

1993/Okt/21 -


Sylvie Kinigi

(President ?) & Prime Minister: Sylvie Kinigi (f) (Tutsi) (b. 1953)

1993/Oct/27 -


1994/Feb/5 -


President: Cyprien Ntaryamira (Hutu) (b. 1955 - d. 1994)

Ndadaye is succeeded in 1994 by Cyprien Ntaryamira.

Cyprien Ntaryamira

1994/Feb/7 -


Prime Minister: Anatole Kanyenkiko (Tutsi) (b. 1953)

Plane crash with the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda, Cyprein Ntaryamira and Habyarimana. The beginning of the genocide in Rwanda.


President: Sylvestre Ntibantunganya (Hutu) (b. 1956)

1994/Apr/6 -


Sylvestre Ntibantunganya

1994/Jul/12 to 22

"Convention de Gouvernement" gives more power to the government parties and reduce posibility for the the Burundi people to influence the governing of the country.

Prime Minister: Antoine Nduwayo (Tutsi) (b. 1942)

1995/Feb/22 -


Antoine Nduwayo

Pierre Buyoya

Buyoya overthrows the sitting government.


Pascal-Firmin Ndmira

Prime Minister: Pascal-Firmin Ndmira (Hutu) (b. 1956)

1996/July/31 -



The prime minister post is abolished


First peace talks in Arusha.


Summary period 2000 - 2004 (DK)

In August 2000, a peace-deal agreed by all but two of Burundi's political groups laid out a timetable for the restoration of democracy. After several more years of violence, a cease-fire was signed in 2003 between Buyoya's government and the largest Hutu rebel group, CNDD-FDD.

Later that year, FRODEBU leader Domitien Ndayizeye replaced Buyoya as President. Yet the most extreme Hutu group, Palipehutu-FNL (commonly known as "FNL"), continued to refuse negotiations.

In August 2004, the group massacred 152 Congolese Tutsi refugees at the Gatumba refugee camp in western Burundi. In response to the attack, the Burundian government issued arrest warrants for the FNL leaders Agathon Rwasa and Pasteur Habimana, and declared the group a terrorist organisation.


Transitional government with Pierre Buyoya as president.

Pierre Buyoya

Domitien Ndayizeye

Transitional government with Domitien Ndayizeye (Hutu) as president and prime minister.



An agreement of implementation of a ceasefire deal reached in December 2002 is signed with Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie-Forces pour la Defense de la Democratie (CNDD-FDD).


The United Nations Security Council unanimously approve to deploy up to 5,650 military personnel to help Burundi with restoring peace and bringing about national reconciliation.



UN take over African peacekeeping force in Burundi.

The 2,700 African Union (AU) troops from South Africa, Ethiopia and Mozambique will be incorporated in the new force, which will eventually number 5,650, including 200 observers, 125 staff officers, 120 police officers and civilian personnel. The newcomers will come from Pakistan, Nepal, Angola and Mozambique.


The former rebel movement the Conseil national de défense de la démocratie-Forces de défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) turns into political party.


The National Assembly passed a legislation establishing a South-African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The bill was passed by a vote of 121 in favor, 11 against and 18 abstentions.

Parliament creates electoral commission.



Lawmakers agreed unanimously a new draft constitution. But Jean Baptiste Manwangari, UPRONA party chairman, and his Tutsis-dominated parties reject the current draft for a post-transition constitution.


The disagreement about the constitution and the general political situation led to an inititative to hold a summit on the situation in Burundi. Participants: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who chairs the region's initiatives on Burundi, also chaired the summit. Presidents Domitien Ndayizeye of Burundi, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and newly installed Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia attended. South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, who is the facilitator of the Burundi peace process and the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Burundi, Carolyn McAskie.

The summit endorsed an electorial calendar submitted to it by the Independent National Commission. According to this calendar:

        •     The Transitional Government will be extended 6 months

          •          Burundi's presidential elections will be held on the 22 April 2005

        •          A referendum on the country's post-transition constitution that had been scheduled for 20 of October

               is now to be held on 26 November

Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye said the Nairobi plan would be submitted to Burundi's transitional parliament. If it adopts the plan, it would act as an interim constitution starting on 1 November when the mandate for the current transitional constitution would have expired. The interim constitution would then remain in place until the post transitional constitution is adopted.

The timetable also includes local elections on 9 February, communal elections on 23 February and legislative elections on 9 March. Ngarambe said the dates might still change depending on factors such as the availability of funds and security conditions.
Befor the election there must also be hold a census and a registration of voters.


The interim constitution was ratified by the Parliament with 197 votes. 74 delegates (from the TUTSI partis) were absent.


The danger of a constitutional crisis in Burundi ended when six Tutsi-dominated parties dropped their opposition to the country's current interim constitution.


Continue - Next page:  Cease-fire & Elections

Referendum on the country's post-transition constitution is postponed to 22 December 2004



Referendum postponed again. This time because of delayed voter list. This is the third time the referendum is postponed.