Bujumbura, Burundi – On August 24, 2018 the government of Burundi released a statement in which critics are addressed to the Belgium Embassy for facilitating and granting visas to 28 Burundian drummers who are reported to have vanished in Switzerland. According to the government of Burundi, the easy issuance of visas had the sole purpose of “tarnishing the image of Burundi.”

Without delay, the embassies of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the delegation of the European Union as well as the Switzerland diplomatic office in Bujumbura responded to the Burundi government statement the next day and debunked all the allegations therein.

In the two communications, some facts coupled with other reports would lead one to wonder whether the government of Burundi sees what other people see or even knows what other people know. Let`s see only one fact: the allegation about travel order.

There are controversies on the travel order on both sides. The government of Burundi categorically denies having issued any travel order to the drummer group while the Belgium embassy asserts that all the documents required to get a visa were met by the drummer group, including an affidavit of financial support of the group issued by Burundian “high officials.”

Many questions are raised here. The fact is that the Belgium embassy holds an affidavit of financial support of the group , supposedly, issued by Burundian “high officials”. But, who signed the said affidavit? Is he/she a real “high official” of the Burundian government or an “impersonator (in this case this would be a case of forgery or/and fraud).” Another question one could raise here is whether the Belgium embassy and all other embassies worldwide are compelled to verify/confirm the authenticity of all required documents for visa application before they issue one? Now that the drummers are in a “safe heaven” would they plead guilty for forgery or would they throw the Burundian government under the bus?

Well, in any case, the Burundi government loses considering other external reports such as the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 published by Transparency International,

Corruption Perceptions Index

the communiqué launched by Nancy Ninette Mutoni about scammers who impersonate the General Secretary of CNDD-FDD (ruling power) on social media to get some cash and other reports of people impersonating public officials to sign documents or statements.

Nancy Ninette Statement