National Council for the Defense of Democracy

National Council for the Defense of Democracy

The National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (French: Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie–Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie, NCDD–FDD) was the most significant rebel group active in the Burundi Civil War and became a major political party in Burundi. The NCDD was the political wing of the organization, while the FDD was the military wing. It was founded in 1994, a year after the assassination of Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye. The political wing was dominated by Hutu intellectuals from the southern region of Bururi led by Leonard Nyangoma, while the fighting wing was composed of troops drawn from throughout the country, which led to a split in the group in 2001.

The rebel group was often referred to simply as Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD). In 2001, the CNDD–FDD consisted of about 15,000 rebels led by Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurukiye. However a schism in October 2001 led to the overthrow of Ndayikengurukiye by Pierre Nkurunziza. The Nkurunziza-led faction, consisting of 10,000 to 12,000 troops signed a ceasefire with the government in December 2002, but continued fighting. The faction led by Ndayikengurukiye became the lesser of the two with about 5,000 fighters. It also signed a ceasefire with the government in October 2002 to which it has roughly held.

At an official ceremony in January 2005, the group registered as a legal political party. In largely peaceful parliamentary elections on 4 July 2005, the CNDD won an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the vote, making it likely that a CNDD representative would be chosen president in August. Pierre Nkurunziza indeed was elected President of Burundi unopposed on August 19. At the legislative elections, the party won 57.8 % and 64 out of 118 seats.

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