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Vol 43 No 6

Published 22nd March 2002


Alternating currents

The government is transitional but the opposition fears its power is permanent

The four-month-old transitional government is, in some ways, the one intended by the agreement signed in Arusha, Tanzania, in August 2000. President Pierre Buyoya is as firmly in charge as ever and there have been no recent coup attempts. Cabinet ministers from ten parties, ranging from militant Tutsi to militant Hutu, work in their Bujumbura offices. The Minister for Peace and National Reconciliation, Luc Rukingama ­ head of the mainly Tutsi Union pour le Progrès National (Uprona) and a trusted supporter of Buyoya ­ tries to explain the Arusha agreement to the public. Political power is being shared. Without walkouts or boycotts, the Transitional National Assembly and the Senate have begun deliberations and passed a budget for 2002. Both bodies are recruited from the country's several ethnic and political factions: the Assembly is headed by Jean Minani of the mainly Hutu Front pour la Démocratie au Burundi (Frodebu); the Senate President is Libéré Bararunyeretse of Uprona.

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