BUJUMBURA May 27th (ABP) – The Ombudsman of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Edouard Nduwimana, presented on Wednesday May 26, 2021 before the Lower House of Parliament, the annual report of the achievements of his institution for the financial year 2020. The Burundian ombudsman recalled that this report complies with the provisions of article 17 of Law N° 1/04 of January 24, 2013 revising Law number 1/03 of January 25, 2010 on the organization and functioning of the institution of the ombudsman. He also specified that it is for the sake of accountability and transparency that the Ombudsman of the Republic of Burundi sends an annual report to the President of the Republic, the National Assembly and the Senate.
He stressed that his institution examines complaints and conducts investigations concerning management errors and human rights violations committed by officials of the public service, the judiciary, local communities, public institutions and anybody with a public service mission.
The Burundian mediator indicated that during the year under report, the institution of the ombudsman received 3,115 claimants, constituting 282 complaint files.
In addition to those cases received during the year 2020, there are 111 cases from the year 2019 which were not closed following either the lack of follow-up by the complainant, or the delaying tactics of the parties involved, who seized the courts or other repressive institutions, in order to refer the matter to the institution of the Ombudsman.
He continued his presentation by saying that out of the 422 files analyzed during the year 2020, 117 were closed, 29 others were declared inadmissible, either constituting cases pending before the courts, or inadmissible from the fact that the party in question doesn’t have a public mission. He also added that 305 files are still being processed.
In the context of social cohesion, the institution of the ombudsman has set up a “project to support the sustainability of local mechanisms for dialogue, mediation and reconciliation for the strengthening of social cohesion in Burundi”, for which 42 workshops were organized with the aim of implementing strategies to sensitize the various actors on social cohesion, good governance, conflict prevention and the establishment of lasting peace.
Mr. Nduwimana did not forget to take up some of the challenges facing his institution. He specified that his institution is not yet decentralized in the provinces as recommended by the law.
He pointed out that this challenge stems from the lack of sufficient budget. The Burundian ombudsman also referred to the challenge of the non-appropriation or bad acceptance of the recommendations of the ombudsman institution by certain members of the government or officials of other administrations.
As the institution of the ombudsman emanates from the Arusha agreements and since those agreements so far, there has been a great socio-political evolution in Burundi, the Burundian mediator proposes that the legislator should readjust the law governing the institution of the ombudsman in the present circumstances.
In the future prospects, he indicated that his institution has the ambition to establish other regional and even provincial branches in different corners of the country.
Regarding the question put to him by the MPs concerning what does the institution of the ombudsman do in the event of non-acceptance of the recommendations of his institution by certain members of the government, he replied that in such a case, the institution of the ombudsman can appeal to the President of the Republic of Burundi, or may publish the case in the official bulletin of Burundi (BOB).