Burundi’s Leader Aims to Extend His Term. His African Peers Take Notes.


“I think people have said, ‘If Burundi can get away with this, so can we,’” Ms. Bouka said.

The lesson, she added, is clear: “If you can control the narrative — the diplomatic one, not the human rights one — you can ask how messy can things get without anybody forcing an intervention on you.”

Mr. Nkurunziza has tried to control the human rights narrative, too, by blocking access to journalists and researchers, including a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into accusations of extrajudicial killings, disappearances and torture since 2015, when Mr. Nkurunziza won his third term.

On voting day, many people in the capital, Bujumbura, and in the countryside said they were afraid of sharing their opinions openly, and some would speak only anonymously. Fears focused mainly on members…

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