Mwambutsa IV of Burundi

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Mwambutsa IV
King of Burundi
Mwambutsa 1962.jpg
Mwambutsa pictured during a visit to Israel in 1962
Reign 16 December 1915 – 8 July 1966
Coronation 16 December 1915
Predecessor Mutaga IV Mbikije
Successor Ntare V Ndizeye
Born c. 1912
Nyabiyogi, Burundi
Died March 26, 1977(1977-03-26) (aged 64-65)
Geneva, Switzerland
Burial Meyrin, Switzerland
Issue Charles Ndizeye (Ntare V)
Rosa Paula Iribagiza
House Ntwero
Father Mutaga IV Mbikije
Mother Princess Ngenzahago
Religion Catholicism

Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge (1912–77) was king (mwami) of Burundi who ruled between 1915 and 1966. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his father Mutaga IV Mbikije (r. 1908–15).[1] Born while Burundi was under German colonial rule, Mwambutsa's reign mostly coincided with Belgian colonial rule (1916–62). The Belgians retained the monarchs of both Rwanda and Burundi under the policy of indirect rule.[1]

Biography[edit]

Mwambutsa IV was born Prince Bangiricenge in c. 1912. Like other Burundian kings, he was an ethnic Ganwa (Tutsi). He became king, taking the regnal name Mwambutsa, on 16 December 1915 when he was still an infant following the death of his father in a family dispute.[1] Because of his age, a regency was declared. Several family members, including the Queen Mother Ririkumutima, served as regent. At the time of his coronation, Burundi was part of German East Africa but was captured by Belgium in 1916 during the East African Campaign in World War I. In 1925, a full regency council was established with Belgian approval.[1] Mwambutsa became a ruler in his own right on 28 August 1929.[1]

On the independence of Burundi in July 1962, Mwambutsa IV became the head of state of Burundi with far reaching political power. In Rwanda, the monarchy had been overthrown between 1959–62. He attempted to balance ethnic tensions between ethnic Hutu and Tutsi subjects by choosing his Prime Ministers from each ethnic group alternately.[1] In October 1965, Hutu officers attempted a coup d'état against the monarchy. Despite their failure to take power, Mwambutsa fled into exile in the Republic of the Congo, eventually moving to Switzerland. In March 1966 he designated his only surviving son to exercise his powers on the spot. Still in exile, Mwambutsa was officially deposed in a second coup d'état and brought his son to power as Ntare V on 8 July 1966. The monarchy was finally abolished altogether in a third coup in November 1966 and its leader, Michel Micombero, came to power as president and de facto dictator. Mwambutsa spent the rest of his life in Switzerland where he died in 1977.[1]

Mwambuta's remains were exhumed from their burial site in Switzerland in 2012 with a view to repatriating them to Burundi for a state funeral. After a legal battle, however, the remains were re-interred in Switzerland in 2016 in accordance with his family's wishes.[2]

Distinctions[edit]

National orders[edit]

  • ARG Order of May - Knight BAR.png Grand Master of the Royal Order of Prince Louis Rwagasore.[3]
  • Royal Order of Ruzinko.gif Grand Master of the Royal Order of Ruzinko (Royal Male Drum).[3]
  • Royal Order of Karyenda.gif Grand Master of the Royal Order of Karyenda (Royal Female Drum).[3]
  • Order of the Sun (Afghanistan) - ribbon bar.gif Grand Master of the Military Order of Karyenda (Royal Female Drum).[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dictionary of African Biography 2008.
  2. ^ "Court says remains of former Burundi king can stay in Geneva". Swiss Info. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Royal Ark

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chrétien, Jean-Pierre (2008). "Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge". In Gates, Louis, Jr.; Akyeampong, Emmanuel K. Dictionary of African Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
Mwambutsa IV of Burundi
House of Ntwero
Born: 1912 Died: 26 April 1977
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mutaga IV
King of Burundi
16 December 1915 – 8 July 1966
Succeeded by
Ntare V