Bruxelles : La désignation de Mme Laure UWASE dans le groupe d’experts est une décision judicieuse.

Maître Laure UWASE
Une opinion du Dr. Stef Vandeginste de l’Institut de Politique de Développement à l’Université d’Anvers.

Dans leur Carte blanche du 11 août 2020 dans le journal Le Soir, Jean-François Cahay et Olivier Mullens déplorent la composition du groupe d’experts qui accompagne les travaux de la Commission spéciale chargée d’examiner le passé colonial belge au Congo, au Rwanda et au Burundi. Ils dénoncent en particulier la désignation de Mme Laure Uwase. Un autre élément de leur critique a attiré mon attention. Au-delà de la personne de Maître Uwase, les auteurs s’indignent du « réflexe néocolonial d’un autre âge » qui aurait inspiré la Commission spéciale au moment de la mise en place du groupe d’experts.

Son souci de respecter l’équilibre ethnique (Hutu-Tutsi) parmi les experts d’origine rwandaise fait preuve, selon les auteurs, d’une « idéologie ethniciste coloniale […] perpétuée au sein même du parlement belge » alors que le Rwanda a supprimé toute notion ethnique sur les cartes d’identité (et ailleurs) « afin de dépasser ces notions clivantes ». Depuis son arrivée au pouvoir après le génocide des Tutsi en 1994, le gouvernement rwandais a, en effet, privilégié une politique d’amnésie ethnique et de citoyenneté rwandaise. Il n’hésite d’ailleurs pas à poursuivre, pour crime de divisionnisme, toute personne qui ose évoquer la pertinence politique de l’identité ethnique.

L’usage des quotas sert un double objectif

Les auteurs semblent oublier que le Rwanda a un voisin du sud qui, sur base d’un accord de paix signé en 2000, a opté pour une toute autre approche. En effet, au Burundi, la configuration de l’Etat post-conflit est basée sur la reconnaissance du fait ethnique. Conformément à l’Accord d’Arusha pour la Paix et la Réconciliation au Burundi du 28 août 2000, la Constitution y impose des quotas ethniques pour la composition des institutions politiques (l’assemblée nationale, le sénat, le gouvernement) et sécuritaires (l’armée et la police). L’usage des quotas sert un double objectif : la protection de la minorité démographique tutsi à travers sa représentation assurée dans les institutions de l’Etat ainsi que la promotion sociale de la majorité démographique hutu, exclue des sphères du pouvoir pendant des décennies sous l’ère du parti unique.

Ainsi, le Burundi est probablement le meilleur exemple du partage du pouvoir consociatif sur le continent africain, un système qui par ailleurs fut également introduit, entre autres, en Bosnie et en Irlande du Nord. Des élections générales viennent d’y avoir lieu. Le 20 juillet 2020, les sénateurs burundais ont été élus par des collèges électoraux provinciaux. Depuis 2005, chaque province a droit à deux sénateurs, un(e) Tutsi et un(e) Hutu. Alors que, tout comme au Rwanda, la notion ethnique ne figure pas sur les cartes d’identité burundaises, les candidats sénateurs doivent indiquer leur appartenance ethnique au moment d’introduire leur candidatures à la Commission électorale.

Ce système ingénieux, qui a permis de mettre fin à une guerre civile politico-ethnique qui ravageait le pays depuis l’assassinat du Président Melchior Ndadaye en octobre 1993, n’a pas été imposé par la Belgique. L’architecte du Burundi post-conflit qui, en tant que médiateur de la paix, a conçu le modèle consociatif burundais n’était autre que Nelson Mandela. Son expérience en Afrique du Sud, où la transition vers un Etat post-apartheid était également basée sur un accord négocié – comme au Burundi, mais contrairement au Rwanda qui a connu une victoire militaire du mouvement rebelle dirigé par Paul Kagame – fut sa source d’inspiration. Par réalisme, il a compris la nécessité de passer par un accord entre élites politiques opposées suivant les lignes du clivage ethnique pour atteindre la paix au Burundi.

Vingt ans après, le débat autour du système consociatif – sa durabilité, ses modalité de mise en œuvre, son affaiblissement, etcetera – persiste. Une nouvelle Constitution, promulguée en 2018, suggère la fin du système des quotas ethniques dont l’usage est à évaluer, pendant la législature qui vient de démarrer, par le sénat nouvellement élu. La société civile burundaise en exile – qui a dû fuir le pays en 2015 et qui est active, entre autres, au Rwanda (le voisin du nord ethniquement amnésique, quel paradoxe!) – plaide depuis plusieurs années en faveur du maintien de l’Accord d’Arusha dont l’équilibrage ethnique est un pilier principal.

Une décision judicieuse

Sans vouloir me prononcer sur le choix des personnes concernées, il me semble que, si la Commission spéciale a donc opté pour un équilibrage (ethnique, mais aussi en ce qui concerne la dimension genre, par exemple) de la composition du groupe d’experts, elle a pris une décision judicieuse. La désignation du Monseigneur Jean-Louis Nahimana (de nationalité burundaise et Hutu) est d’ailleurs intervenue au moment où la Professeure Olivia Rutazibwa (d’origine rwandaise) était également invitée à faire partie du groupe. (Elle a décliné l’invitation.) Les invitations n’ont donc pas nécessairement été inspirées par un souci d’équilibrage ethnique ‘rwando-rwandais’, mais ont probablement tenu compte de la reconnaissance officielle de la donne ethnique au Burundi. Présenter cette sensibilité comme étant une perpétuation de l’idéologie ethniciste coloniale, comme le font Cahay et Mullens, est donc déplorable.

Source: lalibre.be

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