Forget about Moi and Trump, this Burundi president imprisons school children for drawing his face. Dictatorship at its finest!

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It is easy to believe that democracy and freedom of expression in Africa has advanced while reading it from a book, but the practicality of it all is still a far fetched dream for many countries.

In Burundi specifically, the term still remains a vocabulary only to be read and understood in dictionaries.

President Pierre Nkurunziza has more often rubber stamped his authority and shown how thick-skinned he can be when it comes to crackdown on those challenging his leadership.

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In the latest crackdown, the authorities have arrested seven schoolchildren for scribbling the president’s photo on their exercise books, as reported by the Human Rights Watch.

They were taken to the Public Prosecutor in Kirundo Province where a 13-year-old was released because she was below the age of criminal responsibility. The other six helpless scared girls were held in custody at a local police station and only three of them were released after spending the weekend in cells.

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The other three were charged for insulting the Head of State and could spend up to five years in prison if found guilty.

This is however not the first case of school administrators cracking down on children insulting the presidency. In 2016, eight harmless secondary school students were arrested by the Burundian intelligence after they drew Nkurunziza in a textbook with phrases such as “Get out” and “No to 3rd term”. In the same year, several students were expelled from school for scribbling the president’s face in their school books.

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