A total of nine schools in eastern Burundi are under investigation after pictures of the President were defaced in text books.
Over 230 students were suspended in one fell swoop on Monday when no one agreed to own up to the defacement in a particular school.
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Already, eleven students were arrested in the central Muramvya district for insulting Nkurunziza by damaging his portrait and are awaiting trial for their crime, which is punishable by five to 10 years in jail.
Another 234 students at Gahinga Secondary School in Ruyigi province were also prevented from sitting for their end-of-year exams on Tuesday because they would not tell the authorities who had scrawled on President Nkurunziza’s photo.
Burundi has faced a lot of upheaval ever since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for and subsequently entered for a third term in office.
Tempers ran and still run high in Burundi and for a while, violence held sway in the country, to the extent that the United Nations made several attempts to step in to control the tensions.
According to the United Nations, the violence in Burundi has left more than 500 people dead and forced more than 270,000 to flee the country to neighboring Rwanda, Democratic republic of Congo and Tanzania.
With all these facts, it is not surprising that the political atmosphere in the country is charged with suspicion and the authorities who have put these schools under investigation have given the reason for the investigations as a need to ascertain if there were any political motives behind the students actions.
Local government official Aloys Ngenzirabona told the AFP news agency;
“The students were asked to write down the names of those who had defaced the books and the names of those who had encouraged them to do it, but they gave us blank sheets”
So authorities are basically; hindering exams and suspending students for defaced photos of President Pierre Nkurunziza, all to answer the question of whether there is a possible political motive behind the actions of the actual culprits?
If only Africa could be so forward thinking on bigger issues, but students must learn to respect their president I guess.