Civil Administration Reform: Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Protocol II, Chapter I: Article 10: The administration

1. The administration shall function in accordance with the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, and with the law.

2. The administration shall be so structured, and all civil servants shall so perform their duties, as to serve all users of public services with efficiency, courtesy, impartiality and equity. Embezzlement, corruption, extortion and misappropriation of all kinds shall be punishable in accordance with the law. Any state employee convicted of corruption shall be dismissed from the public administration following a disciplinary inquiry.

3. The administration shall be organized in ministries, and every minister in charge of a ministry shall report to the President of the Republic and to the National Assembly on the manner in which the ministry performs its functions and utilizes the funds allocated to it.

4. The administration shall be broadly representative and reflect the diversity of the components of the Burundian nation. The practices with respect to employment shall be based on objective and equitable criteria of aptitude and on the need to correct the imbalances and achieve broad representation.

5. A law shall specify the distinction between posts that are career or technical posts and those that are political posts.

6. No civil servant or member of the Judiciary may be accorded favourable or unfavourable treatment solely on grounds of her/his gender, ethnicity or political affiliation.

7. An independent Ombudsperson shall be created by the Constitution. The organization and functioning of her/his service shall be determined by law.

8. The Ombudsperson shall hear complaints and conduct inquiries relating to mismanagement and infringements of citizen's rights committed by members of the public administration and the judiciary, and shall make recommendations thereon to the appropriate authorities. She/he shall also mediate between the administration and citizens and between administrative departments, and shall act as an observer of the functioning of the public administration.

9. The Ombudsperson shall possess the powers and resources required to perform her/his duty. She/he shall report annually to the National Assembly and the Senate. Her/his report shall be published in the Official Gazette of Burundi.

10. The Ombudsperson shall be appointed by the National Assembly by a three-quarters majority. The appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Implementation History


Minimum Implementation

Not all major parties to the conflict signed the agreement until 2003. During this three year gap, implementation of civil administration reforms began. The accord called for reforms to de-politicize the civil service, reduce corruption, and increase competence. The government conducted a census of public servants throughout the country in 2001. In the result published in February 2002, there were 40,642 people employed by the civil service, but the Civil Service Ministry had been sending paychecks to 41,642 people. Around 1000 people who had been getting paid were unaccounted for.1 In July 2002, the parliament adopted new legislation allowing trade unions for civil servants.2 No initiatives were taken to achieve a balance of ethnic groups in the civil service.

  • 1. "Burundi: Census shows 1,007 ghost civil servants employed," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, March 8, 2002.
  • 2. "Burundi: Parliament adopts draft law on civil service trade unions," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, July 5, 2002.

Minimum Implementation

It was reported that ethnic Tutsis, who had applied for jobs in customs, were taken out of the applicant pool. The director-general of the Civil Service defended the move by suggesting that the Arusha accord sought to bring ethnic balance to the civil service.3 

  • 3. "Civil service head reportedly rejects ethnic Tutsi job applicants" BBC Sumary of World Broadcasts, January 24, 2004.

Minimum Implementation

At the close of 2005, the legislature had not established an independent Ombudsmen office for civil service employees as called for in the accord.4 

  • 4. "Burundi president marks second anniversary in power with address; overview," BBC Monitoring Africa, August 27, 2007.

Minimum Implementation

On 26 May 2006, the government enacted Law no. 1/28 in an effort to reduce corruption in the civil service.5

  • 5. “Burundi: A Deepening Corruption Crisis Africa Report,” International Crisis Group (no. 185 – 21), March 2012.

Minimum Implementation

On 29 June 2007, the National Recruitment Commission was finalized through Ministerial order no. 574, which required increased public transparency in the recruitment process.6


Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Minimum Implementation

On 25 January 2010, the Office of the Ombudsman was created and the parliament elected Mohamed Rukara, a CNDD-FDD member as the first ombudsman. Due to his political affiliations, however, there were objections about him being independent or neutral as intended in the Arusha agreement and the constitution.7



Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed. 


Minimum Implementation

A special 2012 report by the International Crises Group on Burundi makes a case that corruption is now worse under the total capture of state power under the CNDD than it was under Tutsi minority control. The report claims that "the civil service is now perceived as very politicized, a situation denounced by officials themselves." In survey based assessments of government corruption in Burundi, between 84 and 91 percent of officials believed that "appointments in their sector were controlled by the executive power."8 


  • 8. “Burundi: A Deepening Corruption Crisis Africa Report,” International Crisis Group (no. 185 – 21), March 2012.