The Government of Kenya identifies him as a refugee and the father to Mugisha. I have known him for nearly 5 years now . The last time we met was in Uganda on December 2013, he narrated to me how his search for a Godly woman to have his last name and start a family was going. Last night, we talked about how despotic governance camouflaged in democracy has long since haunted the stability and prosperity of many African states.
He shared how his life quickly changed from a man who was well and able to provide for his family, to a political refugee as Pierre Nkurunzinza got wind of his social media protest and interview on VOA (Voice of America) Radio on the killings which started on April of this year, and his fears as a young father in asylum who is equally dependent on sustains as his child.
His is a story of how of old age and hunger for power can catapult a state into ethnic conflict. How the silence of the international community in the name of “none interference,” has lead to a body county of over 80 people and the blind eye of Africa’s tyrants, whose grey hair is slowly escaping their residing hair line,those men who refuse to see beyond their noses and would rather be remembered as Africa’s longest serving prefects than iconic leaders. How men and women today are celebrating Christmas in a land they have to call home. This is the tale of Mugisha’s Father:
How would you best describe yourself?
My name is Pastor Jean Noel Nkrunziza, A husband of one wife and a father one. Currently I am a refugee in Kenya. Before this I owned a Marketing and Advertising company in Burundi.
Congratulations on the new born baby, what is your greatest fear as new father on asylum?
It is very challenging knowing my son is born in a land that is not his, moreover embracing the reality as a refugee which disarms my ability to effectively provide for my family.
Do you have family and friends who choose to stay in Burundi?
Yes, many of them are more afraid of the status of a refugee as opposed to the killings in Burundi. You see, they have managed to secure really good jobs and a comfortable life for their families, while others have put up their houses among other assets, as collateral for their loans which they do not want to lose to the bank in the event that they leave without paying them up. As result they choose to turn a blind eye on the political situation in our country.
Why did you leave?
When the killings started in April, I choose to stay in Burundi because my company was at its prime, I had secured investors to expand it and was confident the people would push for Pierre NKurunziza’s exist in no time. As a safety precaution, I sent my wife to stay with friends in Rwanda. However, things changed when I came home one evening, only to find out the army was looking for me due to my social media posts and the interviews I had previously done in the local radio station and VOA.
What is your opinion on President Pierre Nkurunziza and Burundi?
The best Christmas gift he could offer is his resignation and pave way for peace and stability. It is disappointing that the international community dragged its feet on this matter, you guys included. However, I am pleased the African community and the UN are taking the initiative.
Is praying for Burundi enough?
No its not, he laughs as he answers this question. You know meg I am a pastor I shouldn’t be saying this but the reality on the ground needs more than prayer. Currently I have identified nearly 150 Burundian refugees in Kenya who are in need of basic sustenance. There is an NGO that has taken up this responsibility (IMANA Initiative) however financial assistance would also go a long way.
I STAND WITH BURUNDI
M-PESA PAYBILL NO : 891300
On the other hand I’m grateful to Kenyans for their support and hospitality since the Initiative started. if you guys could push your president to address the crises in Burundi. You know your country is a hegemonic power in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. This is not Burundi’s problem, her neighbors too will be affected by it directly and indirectly.
How long do you think this conflict/ crises will take?
We are giving it 5 to 10 years, I will be happy to go back home once the dust has settled and it safe to go back home. My greatest desire is to raise Mugisha in his real home.