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Burundi Opposition to Petition Regional Leaders Over Crisis

  • Peter Clottey

FILE - Protesters march who are against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term, in Bujumbura, Burundi, June 4, 2015.

FILE - Protesters march who are against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term, in Bujumbura, Burundi, June 4, 2015.

A leading member of Burundi’s opposition FRODEBU Nyakuri Party says heads of state from the East African Community (EAC) have failed the people of Burundi following what he says was their failure to implement measures to resolve the political crisis.

Hosted on Monday by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the regional leaders held a summit in a bid to help resolve the crisis in Burundi. The leaders called for a postponement of the presidential election scheduled to be held on July 15.

But, Issa Ngendakumana, from the FRODEBU Nyakuri party, says the two-week postponement of the presidential vote and the selection of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to mediate an end to the political crisis are unlikely to resolve the ongoing political turmoil in Burundi.

“The East African Community Summit that took place last Monday is a failure because in our view, the summit was there just to take measures to implement what was decided by the AU [African Union] summit in Johannesburg, but they didn’t… They didn’t say anything about the municipal and legislative elections. So we consider that summit was a failure,” said Ngendakumana.

Ngendakumana says the opposition groups have made a unanimous decision to petition the regional leaders on Thursday to do more to end the crisis.

“I can also say that even if President Museveni is a wise person he can’t resolve all the problems we have in only two weeks," he said. "It’s impossible. So we are not happy with the decision taken at the EAC summit last Monday.”

The opposition groups accuse current Nkurunziza of violating both the constitution and the Arusha accord by seeking re-election. The Arusha accord effectively ended Burundi’s civil war.

The crisis in Burundi has so far forced over 100,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

Resolving the Crisis

Ngendakumana says the only way to resolve the crisis is if the regional and continental leaders put pressure on the embattled president to prevent him from seeking a controversial third term.

He outlined what the opposition groups will accept.

“We think they should push President Pierre Nkurunziza to withdraw [and] not to [seek] a third term as president. Then they should postpone all elections – the municipal, legislative and presidential elections – so that we could talk, and they should help us to set up free, fair and inclusive elections,” said Ngendakumana.

The opposition groups recently boycotted municipal and legislative elections citing the ongoing violence, which they said would undermine the credibility of the vote.

But the ruling CNDD-FDD said the elections were free and peaceful. The party claimed victory after winning 77 out of 100 seats in the National Assembly.

Ngendakumana rejected the election results. He says the alleged opposition parties that participated in the recent elections, were “political partners” of the ruling CNDD-FDD.

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