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Burundi celebrates 21st anniversary of the Unity Charter

© Getty Images/Frederic Nebinger

Burundi celebrated the 21st anniversary of the adoption of its Unity Charter on Monday. While the man behind the project, former president Pierre Buyoya, says he is satisfied with the watershed document, some say there are reasons to doubt its efficiency after ten years of civil war.

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The 21st anniversary of the signing of the unity charter was celebrated across the country and, as in previous years, few ordinary citizens attended the many functions.

The unity charter was adopted in a referendum in 1991. The document allowed Burundians  to break with the ethnic divisions of the past.

However, two years later, a bloody civil war broke out that was to last for more than a decade.

But now, the principal architect of the project - former president Pierre Buyoya - says, Burundians should be proud of the charter.

Buyoya says, twenty one years later, the result is not bad at all:“I could even say it is quite satisfactory. The unity charter has become a reference for everything, it was the reference for Arusha, it is the reference for the current constitution. It is the unity charter which helped us in the democratisation process."

However, the current political situation in the country has prompted some to question how effective the Charter has actually been.

Although she attended the function at Vugizo Mount in Bujumbura, Marie Uwimana, a resident of Bujumbura, believes it is nonsense to talk about unity in Burundi:“Many people are killed, others are chased from their land, and with unity this could not be possible.”

She says it is simply nonsense to talk of unity in Burundi.

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