Starting at the end of May and through early September, Burundi will hold its first set of elections since all rebel movements laid down their arms and officially ended Burundi’s long civil war. “If Only I Had Known,” (“Iyo Menya”) produced by New Generation and IFES, with the support of USAID and the Studio RAM recounts the firsthand stories of former youth combatants of Burundi’s long civil war. Manipulated by political interests and false promises, well-known Burundian ex-combatants in the film explain the terrible acts they were led to commit as youths and how their lives were consequently devastated. Other young Burundians share inspiring stories of how strong family ties helped them resist political manipulation, stay out of the conflict and build bright futures.
The video is a powerful reminder to all Burundians of the cost of war. It offers a word of caution as it points out the danger of treacherous and misleading political promises and divisive discourse to young people. As one of the contributors points out, it is in everyone’s best interest to express a common patriotic spirit and engage in peaceful elections.
Towards the goal of having a peaceful poll, IFES-Burundi has helped launch Amatora Mu Mahoro (Elections in Peace), Burundi’s first‐ever nationwide election violence prevention system. The system identifies areas susceptible to electoral violence as well as successful peace initiatives around the country. It aims to support appropriate responses and promote the peaceful holding of Burundi’s 2010 elections.