Bujumbura refuses donkeys offered by Paris

The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock of Burundi has asked the administrator of the commune Nyarusange the immediate withdrawal of the donkeys distributed by the Ambassador of France.

In Burundi, the controversy is in full swing around ten donkeys offered by France to villagers in the province of Gitega (east of Bujumbura). The Burundian Minister of Agriculture eventually ordered the quarantine of the animals, bought in Tanzania.

The case is making a splash in the country.

Bujumbura called the donation of the ten donkeys “insult”.

A mini-diplomatic crisis

In recent days, in the entourage of the power of President Nkurunziza, elevated to the rank of “eternal Supreme Guide” by his party, voices were violently raised against the provision, funded by the Embassy of France in Bujumbura, a dozen donkeys given to the people of a village in the centre of the country.

Detractors point out that not only is the donkey not an animal native to Burundi, but that, moreover, in the French language, it symbolizes ignorance and stupidity.

Purchased in Tanzania, the donkeys had been made available to the peoples of a village in the province of Gitega, as part of a project of a local NGO to help women and children to transport agricultural products, water or firewood.

Animals quarantined

On May 27, 2018, citing administrative problems, the Minister of Agriculture Déo Guide Rurema asked a local administrator to “facilitate the immediate withdrawal of all donkeys that have been distributed (…) without respecting the technical procedures of distribution of exotic animals”, and required that they be sent to a quarantine centre.

Four days earlier, during the inauguration of the project, the French ambassador to Burundi Laurent Delahousse, had rejoiced on Twitter of “the introduction of the Land Cruiser of the animal kingdom in Burundi”.

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