PRINCE LOUIS RWAGASORE: BURUNDI’S FEDERATE ROYAL

In honor of Black History Month, the Involvement Newspaper will be featuring African leaders, heroes, and activists in a bid to remember their contributions towards a better Africa.

By Nyokabi Ng’anga (Leshnyokabi@gmail.com)

Thumbnail photo courtesy of africanexponent.com

Louis Rwagasore was born as the eldest son to Mwami Mwambutsa the IV of Bangicirenge, King of Burundi, in the year 1932.

In a brief, he is a heroic and historical figure in Burundi’s march to independence. He is also a well-known champion for the unification of Burundi and a staunch opposer to partisan politics.

On studying administration and agronomy in Brussels, Belgium, he returned to Burundi in the year 1956 and thereafter, begun his journey as one of his country’s leading politicians.

He initiated agricultural cooperatives, which were aimed at making Burundians gain an upper hand in the country’s agronomics and also, led his people in protesting against Belgium’s rule and domination. However, the cooperatives were banned by the Belgium colonial government.

In 1958, he formed the National Unity and Progress Party (UPRONA) to further his mission in nationalizing Burundi, and three years later, UPRONA won 80% of the votes cast in parliamentary elections. This led to Louis being declared the Prime Minister- ushering in a new hope for Burundi and its determination towards independence.

However, weeks later, Louis was assassinated by an identified Greek-gent, while dining in one of Bujumbura’s hotels. Nonetheless, the Greek national was implicated instantly, alongside his other accomplices (who were all Burundians).

Albeit, worth the note, there is a placed belief that Belgian colonial authorities had a role to play in his murder.

His assassination denied him the close opportunity to actualize an independent and unified country, as months later, Burundi got its independence on 1st July 1962.

Photo courtesy of facebook.com

In Burundi, every year, the 13th of October is set apart in commemoration of Louis and his efforts in fighting for an independent country. Also, a towering mausoleum was built in his honor in the country’s capital and other state facilities named after him.

Photo of Prince Louis Rwagasore’s mausoleu. Photo courtesy from tripadvsior.com

Aside from being a leading light and a role model in the field of non-partisan politics, he also engaged with other African leaders, some of whom include: Patrice Lumumba of DRC, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.

Exemplary of his character, it is believed that he married a Hutu lady, distancing himself from the obvious of his ‘tribal-bridal-pick.’

All these, and much more, assert his intention in unifying Africa through Burundi.

Invo

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