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Political Conflict and Livelihoods Sustainability in Ntahangwa District, Bujumbura Province, Burundi

Abstract: The overall objective of this study is to investigate how political conflict affects livelihoods security at household level. The study used mixed methods research design where both quantitative and qualitative perspectives are adopted to examine the causes of political discrimination among the communities, investigate on the socio-economic effects of political conflict, explore the effects of violence caused by political conflict on realization of basic livelihoods and determine the effects of political conflict at the household level in Ntahangwa district. The study sampled a total of 102 respondents. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select the district, zones and households; while purposive sampling was used to select family members (parents) and community leaders where simple random was used to select the youths. Primary data was obtained using interview guides and questionnaires. Secondary data were reviewed from reports of national and international NGOs and journals. Quantitative data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) Version 20 and qualitative data were analysed using framework and thematic analysis. The study found that the political intolerance, selfishness of leaders, negative ethnicity, class and regionalism were the causes of political discrimination among communities where majority of the respondents agreed that political discrimination resulted in political conflict. All respondents indicated that the socioeconomic effects of political conflict had negative effects on the communities in the study area, and by extension in the Country. Half of the respondents indicated that the violence reduced job opportunities while majority agreed that political conflict affected social security and wellbeing of the households. In conclusion political activism and reactional movements were found to affect cohesion in the region. The study recommends all people regardless of ethnicity, class, regionalism and socio-economic status to adopt political tolerance and inclusive dialogue in order to mitigate political conflict and strengthen principles of democracy and good governance. Equal sharing of resources and involvement of citizens during decision making without any form of discrimination are also recommended in order to sustain the livelihoods at household level of Burundians in country and especially in Ntahangwa district. Key Words: political conflict, livelihoods sustainability, political discrimination, socioeconomic Security, violence and household.

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