Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Second Advisor

Urszula Strawinska-Zanko

Third Advisor

Elena Bastidas


African studies, conflict resolution, political violence, presidential term limits, qualitative case study, quantitative survey, term limit manipulation


The crisis in Burundi began when President Pierre Nkurunziza declared that he would pursue a third term despite a two-term limitation in Burundi’s Constitution. Opposition parties along, with some members of President Nkurunziza’s own National Council for Defence of Democracy, Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), argued that President Nkurunziza’s decision to extend his rule beyond the maximum two-terms was in direct violation of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation agreement, also referred to as the Arusha agreement, signed in 2000. This action triggered opposition parties and civil society groups to organize peaceful protests to challenge President Nkurunziza’s third term bid. In response, government forces and Imbonerakure youth militia coordinated a campaign of repression and intimidation. The country of Burundi is characterized by political violence, targeted assassinations, and accusations of torture and rape by both government forces and armed opposition groups. The purpose of this study was to examine how the conflict surrounding presidential term limit manipulation affected the perception of peace and stability among people in Burundi. Understanding this phenomenon is extremely important because the recent hike in violence among Burundians has negatively affected the peace and stability of the nation. Through a mixed-method case study approach, the study’s main findings indicate the significant fracturing of citizen perceptions of peace and stability along identity lines, significant fear and insecurity among Burundians about the current crisis, as well as the continuing impact of the long-standing violence in the country’s past. Keywords: presidential term limits, conflict resolution, political violence, term limit manipulation, qualitative case study, and quantitative survey.