|1st President of Burundi|
28 November 1966 –1 November 1976
|Preceded by|| Ntare V, as king|
Himself, as prime minister
|Succeeded by||Jean-Baptiste Bagaza|
|8th Prime Minister of Burundi|
11 July 1966 –28 November 1966
|Preceded by||Léopold Biha|
|Succeeded by||Himself, as President|
|Born||26 August 1940|
|Died|| 16 July 1983 (aged 42) |
|Alma mater|| Royal Military Academy |
University of Somalia
Michel Micombero (26 August 1940 –16 July 1983) was a Burundian politician and army officer who ruled the country as its first president and dictator for the decade between 1966 and 1976.
Micombero was an ethnic Tutsi who began his career as an officer in the Burundian army at the time of Burundi's independence in 1962. He studied abroad and was given a ministerial portfolio on his return. He rose to prominence for his role in helping to crush an attempted coup d'état in October 1965 by ethnic Hutu soldiers against the country's monarchy, itself Tutsi. In its aftermath, in 1965 and 1966, Micombero himself instigated two further coups against the monarchy which he perceived as too moderate. The first coup forced the incumbent king into exile, propelling Micombero to the role of prime minister. The second abolished the monarchy itself, bringing Micombero to power as the first president of the new Republic of Burundi.
Micombero ruled Burundi as a military dictator from 1966. He led a one-party state which centralised the country's institutions and adopted a neutral stance in the Cold War. Dissent was repressed and, in 1972, an attempt to challenge Micombero's power led to genocidal violence against the Hutu population in which around 100,000 people, mainly Hutus, were killed. His regime finally collapsed in 1976 when he was ousted in a coup d'état by another army officer, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, who installed himself as president. Micombero went into exile in Somalia where he died in 1983.
Micombero was born in Rutovu, Bururi Province in Belgian-ruled Ruanda-Urundi on 26 August 1940. His parents were peasants of Hima ethnicity, part of the wider Tutsi ethnic group.Micombero studied at Catholic mission schools in Burundi and, in 1960, joined the military which was being formed ahead of Burundi's planned independence in 1962. As part of his training, he was sent to study at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, Belgium in April 1960 to train as an officer. In March 1962 he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. At the time of the independence of the Kingdom of Burundi in July 1962, he held the rank of captain. In November he was made assistant commander-in-chief of the Burundi National Army (Armée Nationale Burundaise).
In early post-independence Burundi, the Tutsi-dominated monarchy of Mwambutsa IV attempted to balance the interests of Tutsi with those of the Hutu majority. In 1963, Micombero joined the ruling Union for National Progress (Union pour le Progrès national, UPRONA) party which, though dominated by Tutsi, also tried to attract Hutu members.In June, Micombero was named State Secretary for Defense, making him head of the military at the age of 23. In September he appealed to the National Assembly to merge the civilian National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie nationale) into the army to head off "antagonistic" tendencies between the two forces, but this was never carried out.
In October 1965, a group of ethnic Hutus, drawn largely from the National Gendarmerie, attempted to overthrow the Burundian monarchy. Their attempt was unsuccessful but Mwambutsa IV fled into exile. Micombero led the repression against the coup's perpetrators.On 9 November 1965 he married Adele Nzeyiman, a Ganwa daughter of a subchief. In July 1966, a second coup d'état brought the king's son, Ntare V, to power. On 8 July Ntare declared the dismissal of Prime Minister Léopold Biha and the suspension of the constitution. The following day he asked Micombero to form a government. On 12 July Micombero presented his government to Ntare with himself as Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. Tensions between the soldiers in the government and the monarchy emerged in August and led to a reshuffling of the cabinet in September. On 7 November Ntare attempted to broadcast a decree dismissing the government, but was turned away from the radio station by soldiers. Three weeks later, while Ntare was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on a state visit, a military coup d'état abolished the monarchy and a republic was proclaimed on 28 November. As a colonel, Micombero took power as the country's first President on 28 November 1966.
As President of Burundi, Micombero ruled through UPRONA as a one-party state. His ideology of "democratic centralism" brought all the country's institutions and media under the regime's control.His regime combined ideas from the socialist ideology of Tanzania with other doctrines from Joseph-Désiré Mobutu's regime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire after 1971). As a Cold War leader, he was able to play off both Communist and Western powers against one another. Micombero became increasingly paranoid after suffering an injury in a road accident in 1967. He was widely believed to be an alcoholic. Various plots against the regime were discovered and unrest remained; notable attempts at deposing him were prevented in 1969 and 1971. His base of support became increasingly restricted to Tutsi in the northern and central regions of Burundi.
In April 1972, a rebellion broke out among the Hutu at Rumonge in the south at the encouragement of the Tanzanian regime and spread rapidly.In subsequent ethnic violence, as many as 1,000 Tutsi were killed. The response of the Micombero regime was to launch a campaign of genocidal violence against the Hutu in the region in which 100,000 people are thought to have been killed. The deposed king Ntare, said to have led the rebellion, was himself murdered. In 1973, after further violence, Mobutu was forced to intervene to prevent Tanzanian invasion. Following the end of the crisis, Micombero introduced a new constitution allowing him to run for a further seven-year term. He also laid the foundation for the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries the same year, along with the governments of Rwanda and Zaire.
In November 1976 opponents, led by Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, led a successful coup d'état against Micombero's regime. Micombero himself was arrested and a second republic was declared under the dictatorship of Bagaza which would last until 1987.Although a Tutsi and a participant in the killings of 1972, Bagaza made concessions to the Hutu majority and made some progress towards modernising the Burundian state until he too was deposed in 1987.
Micombero was exiled from Burundi in 1977.He took up residence in Somalia, then ruled by dictator Siad Barre who was a close friend. He gained a degree in economics from the University of Somalia in 1982. He died of a heart attack at the Madina Hospital in Mogadishu in 1983.
The BurundiNational Defence Force is the state military organisation responsible for the defence of Burundi.
Burundi originated in the 16th century as a small kingdom in the African Great Lakes region. After European contact, it was united with the Kingdom of Rwanda, becoming the colony of Ruanda-Urundi - first colonised by Germany and then by Belgium. The colony gained independence in 1962, and split once again into Rwanda and Burundi. It is one of the few countries in Africa to be a direct territorial continuation of a pre-colonial era African state.
Louis Rwagasore was a Burundian prince and politician who served as Prime Minister of Burundi from 28 September 1961 until his assassination on 13 October 1961. Born to the Ganwa family of Burundian Mwami Mwambutsa IV in Belgian-administered Ruanda-Urundi in 1932, Rwagasore was educated in Burundian Catholic schools before attending university in Belgium. After he returned to Burundi in the mid-1950s he founded a series of cooperatives to economically empower native Burundians and build up his base of political support. The Belgian administration took over the venture, and as a result of the affair his national profile increased and he became a leading figure of the anti-colonial activists. He soon thereafter became involved with a nationalist political party, the Union for National Progress (UPRONA). He pushed for Burundian independence from Belgian control, national unity, and the institution of a constitutional monarchy. Rwagosore sought to bring UPRONA mass appeal across different regions, ethnicities, and castes, and thus under his leadership the party maintained a leadership balanced between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis, though the latter were usually favored for more important positions.
Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge was king (mwami) of Burundi who ruled between 1915 and 1966. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his father Mutaga IV Mbikije. Born while Burundi was under German colonial rule, Mwambutsa's reign mostly coincided with Belgian colonial rule (1916–62). The Belgians retained the monarchs of both Rwanda and Burundi under the policy of indirect rule.
Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was a Burundian army officer and politician who ruled Burundi as president and de facto military dictator from November 1976 to September 1987.
The Union for National Progress is a nationalist political party in Burundi. It initially emerged as a nationalist united front in opposition to Belgian colonial rule but subsequently became an integral part of the one-party state established by Michel Micombero after 1966. Dominated by members of the Tutsi ethnic group and increasingly intolerant to their Hutu counterparts, UPRONA remained the dominant force in Burundian politics until the latter stages of the Burundian Civil War in 2003. It is currently a minor opposition party.
The Kingdom of Burundi or Kingdom of Urundi was a Bantu kingdom in the modern-day Republic of Burundi. The Ganwa monarchs ruled over both Hutus and Tutsis. Created in the 17th century, the kingdom was preserved under European colonial rule in the late 19th and early 20th century and was an independent state between 1962 and 1966.
Prince Léopold Bihumugani or Biha was a Burundian politician. He was appointed Prime Minister 13 October 1965 following the 10 May 1965 legislative election. He was the personal secretary of King Mwambutsa IV previous to his appointment as Prime Minister. He was Prime Minister until a coup on 8 July 1966 when Prince Charles Ndizeye overthrew his father and became King. Ntare V installed Michel Micombero to the post of Prime Minister.
Joseph Cimpaye was a Burundian politician and writer.
Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Lake Tanganyika lies along its southwestern border. The capital cities are Gitega and Bujumbura, which is also the largest city.
Ethnic groups in Burundi include the three main indigenous groups of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa that have largely been emphasized in the study of the country's history due to their role in shaping it through conflict and consolidation. Burundi's ethnic make-up is similar to that of neighboring Rwanda. Additionally, recent immigration has also contributed to Burundi's ethnic diversity. Throughout the country's history, the relation between the ethnic groups has varied, largely depending on internal political, economic and social factors and also external factors such as colonialism. The pre-colonial era, despite having divisions between the three groups, saw greater ethnic cohesion and fluidity dependent on socioeconomic factors. During the colonial period under German and then Belgian rule, ethnic groups in Burundi experienced greater stratifications and solidification through biological arguments separating the groups and indirect colonial rule that increased group tensions. The post-independence Burundi has experienced recurring inter-ethnic violence especially in the political arena that has, in turn, spilled over to society at large leading to many casualties throughout the decades. The Arusha Agreement served to end the decades-long ethnic tensions, and the Burundian government has stated commitment to creating ethnic cohesion in the country since, yet recent waves of violence and controversies under the Pierre Nkurunziza leadership have worried some experts of potential resurfacing of ethnic violence. Given the changing nature of ethnicity and ethnic relations in the country, many scholars have approached the topic theoretically to come up with primordial, constructivist and mixed arguments or explanations on ethnicity in Burundi.
André Muhirwa was a Burundian politician as a member of the Union for National Progress and the third Prime Minister of Burundi from 20 October 1961 to 7 June 1963. His term coincided with Burundi's independence.
On 18–19 October 1965, a group of ethnic Hutu officers from the Burundian military and gendarmerie attempted to overthrow Burundi's government in a coup d'état. The rebels were frustrated with Burundi's monarch, Mwami Mwambutsa IV, who had repeatedly attempted to cement his control over the government and bypassed parliamentary norms despite Hutu electoral gains. Although the prime minister was shot and wounded, the coup failed due to the intervention of a contingent of troops led by Captain Michel Micombero. The attempted putsch provoked a backlash against Hutus in which thousands of people, including the participants in the coup, were killed. The coup also facilitated a militant Tutsi backlash against the monarchy resulting in two further coups which culminated in the abolition of the kingdom in November 1966 and the proclamation of a republic with Micombero as President of Burundi.
On 28 November 1966, Michel Micombero, Burundi's 26-year-old Prime Minister, ousted the 19-year-old king (mwami) of Burundi, Ntare V, in a coup d'état. Ntare was out of the country at the time and the coup leaders quickly succeeded in taking control. Micombero declared an end to the monarchy and the Kingdom of Burundi became a republic with Micombero as its first President.
The 1976 Burundian coup d'état was a bloodless military coup that took place in Burundi on 1 November 1976. An Army faction, led by Deputy Chief of Staff Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, ousted President Michel Micombero. Bagaza formed the 30-member Supreme Revolutionary Council to take control, suspended the country's constitution and was inaugurated as president on 10 November 1976.
On 8 July 1966, a coup d'état took place in the Kingdom of Burundi. The second in Burundi's post-independence history, the coup ousted the government loyal to the king (mwami) of Burundi, Mwambutsa IV, who had gone into exile in October 1965 after the failure of an earlier coup d'état.
The Ikiza or the Ubwicanyi (Killings) was a series of mass killings—often characterised as a genocide—which were committed in Burundi in 1972 by the Tutsi-dominated army and government, primarily against educated and elite Hutus who lived in the country. Conservative estimates place the death toll of the event between 100,000 and 150,000 killed, while some estimates of the death toll go as high as 300,000.
Martin Ndayahoze was a Burundian military officer and government official who served variously as Minister of Information, Minister of Economy, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Burundian National Army. He was the only Hutu military officer to serve in government under President Michel Micombero and frequently warned of the dangers of ethnic violence in his reports to the presidency. He was executed in 1972.
Artémon Simbananiye is a Burundian retired politician.
Paul Mirerekano was a Burundian politician. Ethnically Hutu, he worked as an agronomist for the Belgian colonial administration in Ruanda-Urundi before starting a successful market garden in Bugarama. Politically, he was a nationalist, monarchist, and advocate for Hutu civil rights. He was a leading member of Louis Rwagasore's political party, the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), and in 1961 served as the organisation's interim president. Rwagasore's assassination in 1961 fueled a rivalry between Mirerekano and Prime Minister André Muhirwa, as both men claimed to be the heirs to Rwagasore's legacy and sought to take control of UPRONA. The controversy led to the coalescing of two factions in the party, with Mirerekano leading what became known as the Hutu-dominated "Monrovia group". His criticism of Muhirwa and his successor led him to be arrested on several occasions, but in 1965 he was elected to a seat in the National Assembly representing the Bujumbura constituency. The body subsequently elected Mirerekano its First Vice-President on 20 July. In October Hutu soldiers launched a coup attempt which failed, but led to the outbreak of ethnic violence. The government believed Mirerekano helped plan the coup attempt and executed him. His reputation remains a controversial subject in Burundi.