Over at To Africa, from New York, Jina Moore gets it right: Burundi ain’t Rwanda. Jina notes how the assanitation of Burundais anti-corruption activist Ernest Manirumva wouldn’t happen in Rwanda today. She is spot on.
Something that happened in Burundi today that also wouldn’t happen in Rwanda: The Burundais parliament appointed a, “a Hutu as military chief for the first time.” According to AFP:
The Senate voted in closed session to confirm Niyombare as military chief as part of the country’s efforts to divide government posts equally between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis under a peace agreement… Hutus and Tutsis now equally share posts in the army and police.
So, in Burundi, you’ve got a bit of activist assassination complemented by a bit of institutional reorientation towards ethnic parity, whereas in Rwanda you’ve got a little bit less of activist assassination and a little bit less ethnic parity. Beyond different ideological approaches to ethnic equality in the two neighboring countries, different histories of pre-colonial centralized monarchies, a different system of power showing between clans, and a different economic structure, the goat meat also tastes a bit different.
A good place to read about basic contemporary differences between Rwanda and Burundi is Peter Uvin’s “Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and Rwanda: Different Paths to Mass Violence.” Much less tasty than the goat meat.