The UN has been touting Burundi's 2010 elections as a milestone. However, a lot of Burudians are talking as if they believe the elections will be big trouble. No, it isn't that they are against elections, the worried think that many of the political factions see the elections as a chance to stoke discontent and trigger violence. One sign of this is the many Burundi political parties with youth wings. The young don't have jobs, a lot aren't in school. It is easy to get them to throw rocks and to try to get a reaction from the security forces. Though a lot of illegal weapons have been turned in (the government gave cell phones to people who turned in weapons) everyone believes that a lot of weapons remain, hidden in Bujumbura (the capital) but especially in caches in the countryside. Some former rebels may be banking on electoral fraud and ballot troubles. It will give them a reason to contest the election. A South African research outfit said that some of the political parties are now or plan to re-arm their militias. The militias will be used to intimidate voters.
December 18, 2009: The UN extended Rwanda's genocide tribunals until 2012. There are still a number of cases remaining from the 1994 genocide. Cases are supposed to conclude by mid-2010, but can be appealed through the end of 2012.
December 17, 2009: The UN Security Council extended its political mission Burundi through the end of 2010. The UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) was established in 2006. BINUB has been directed to help monitor Burundi's national elections.
December 15, 2009: Burundi's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) announced that national elections will be held on June 28, 2010.
December 5, 2009: Two Rwandan peacekeepers were killed in Sudan's Darfur region. The men were serving with the UNAMID peacekeeping force. Three Rwandan soldiers were killed the day before in an ambush in Darfur.
November 29, 2009: Rwanda joined the British Commonwealth of Nations. Rwanda is a former German and Belgian colony. Rwanda also has ties to many French-speaking African nations. However, Rwanda thinks it has more in common with the Commonwealth. Uganda and Kenya are key Rwandan trading partners and both are former British colonies. Mozambique (which was a Portuguese colony) joined the Commonwealth in the 1990s.
November 21, 2009: The Rwandan government acknowledged that the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia) is still fighting in the Congo. The government said that the FDLR has apparently managed to get a few new recruits from Rwanda.
November 18, 2009: The Rwandan government thanked Germany for arresting a former Hutu leader who was once head of the FDLR. The Germans arrested Ignace Murwanashyaka and his deputy, Straton Musoni. Both men are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The FDLR was organized by ethnic Hutus who were involved in the 1994 genocide and who managed to flee Rwanda to the eastern Congo.