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Workshop for Heads of Political Party and Civil Society Organizations

On the 10th April 2015 East Africa programme organised and held a one day workshop on the theme Towards Patriotic and Responsible Leadership during the Electoral Period in Burundi. The event took place at Hotel Amahoro, Bujumbura, Burundi. There were about 65 participants in attendance who included civil society leaders, community leaders and political party representatives, government officers from various ministries, youth leaders and media people. The Assistant Minister for Ministry of Good Governance in Burundi was present to officially open the workshop.

The aim of the workshop was threefold. First, it was intended to foster the spirit of sharing and convergence among political players and civil society activists. Second, to sensitise participants on the importance of dialogue among political leaders and finally, to encourage political and civil society leaders to put forward national rather than partisan as well as individual interests.

Five presentations were lined up for the day. After the opening speech, the first presentation was made by the programme executive Herbert Makinda on the values that espouses. This was followed by a presentation from Prof. Adrien NTABONA. The title of his presentation was ‘More Binding Ethical Behaviour during this Risky Year.' He argued that ethical behaviour draws inspiration from traditional morality because it commits human beings to assume overall responsibility that prevents any tendency to adopt animal like behaviour. He went on to note that ethical behaviour goes beyond political power and enjoys a kind of authority that creates its own subordinates. Prof. Ntabona identified two main obstacles to ethical behaviour in Burundi. These were the collapse of ethical values that prevails in our society and the logic of war ‘which is on all the lips in Burundi.'

Participants wanted to know how the campaign to arm the population with ethical values could be conducted. He emphasized that the message must aimed at people's conscience and disseminated through workshops like the one organized for youth and for leaders of various organizations by

The next presentation was on ‘The Place of Elections in a Democracy' by Prof. Simeon BARUMWETE. He outlined a historical sketch on democracy, defining the concept in the contemporary context as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human. He pointed out that democracy remains the lesser evil system of government. He insisted that elections are very important in a democracy because they enable the population to choose leaders and added that elections are the only way for consolidating "democratic governance."

Prof. Adolph SURURU presented on ‘Non-Violent Resolution of Conflicts.' He started by wishing that the upcoming Burundi election be peaceful, free and transparent. However, he noted that the prevailing situation in the country cast doubts on whether that would be achieved. He pointed out that hate speeches, physical aggressions, hate songs and different kinds non-civic behaviour are observed and cause fear among the people. As a solution, he proposed ethics education and education for non-violence.

Finally, Prof. Barbara KURURU NDIMURUKUNDO presented on Positive Communication. She began by saying that in life human being are always communicating. This communication can be using the body such as in the case of gestures, mood, tone etc. She argued that one should adopt a benevolent and reassuring attitude, a warm and friendly look, lively, flexible and welcoming gestures, self-appraisal without arrogance etc.

Some of the recommendations from the participants included the government putting in place a School of Ethical Values Education that should be attended by graduates just before starting their career in the civil service. supporting the creation and coordination of Ethics Clubs within secondary schools and individuals promoting a Culture of Ethics and getting informed through books, films, and other sources, read and listen carefully.

The presentations of the day were very exciting and kept the participants actively involved. During the plenary and final submissions the participants expressed their joy and recommended that there be more meetings.