Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza attends the swearing in of his new cabinet, formed after his contentious July reelection. Bujumbura, Burundi, August 25, 2015. (Renovat Ndabashinze/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza attends the swearing in of his new cabinet, formed after his contentious July reelection. Bujumbura, Burundi, August 25, 2015. (Renovat Ndabashinze/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Raids, arbitrary arrests, and killings continue in crisis-hit Burundi despite reelected President Pierre Nkurunziza’s appointment of a new power-sharing government. As gunfire and shelling increasingly disrupt parts of the capital, Bujumbura, and a low-level insurgency waged by unidentified rebels continues in the country’s northern provinces, there are serious doubts as to whether the president can steer the ship for another five years.

For more than three months leading up to the July election, Burundi was in turmoil over the constitutional legitimacy of Nkurunziza’s third run for office, resulting in strong international condemnation and the threat of sanctions from donor countries. After taking power, the president moved swiftly to try and quell the instability that plagued the election campaign.

In a speech laying out a five-year plan for growth and development, he demanded the reestablishment of joint security committees composed of members of the police and the public. Nkurunziza gave the committees two months to dismantle armed units active in Bujumbura in particular. He also called for compulsory civic education of youth to encourage patriotism and stem growing dissent.

The opposition Amizero y’Abarundi coalition has strongly criticized the reestablished committees as an attempt to introduce police functionaries within civil society. These, they say, would be similar to the Imbonerakure, the ruling party’s youth militia, which is accused of perpetrating human rights abuses and colluding with security forces to intimidate suspected anti-government figures. Nkurunziza has thus raised fears of a greater crackdown on his opponents, which could invariably prolong the tide of political violence in the country. Read more