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E. African Leaders to Meet on Burundi Crisis

  • Peter Clottey

Relatives and friends grieve during the funeral of Patrick Ndikumana, Friday, July 3, 2015, in Bujumbura, Burundi. According to relatives Ndikumana was killed in the police attack in Jabe neighborhood last week. A U.N. observer mission concluded Thursday

Relatives and friends grieve during the funeral of Patrick Ndikumana, Friday, July 3, 2015, in Bujumbura, Burundi. According to relatives Ndikumana was killed in the police attack in Jabe neighborhood last week. A U.N. observer mission concluded Thursday

East African regional heads of state plan to meet in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, on Monday to assess and find a way to resolve the crisis in Burundi.

It is unclear if Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza would attend the meeting, which comes as he intensifies his campaign for a controversial bid to seek re-election.

Burundi's opposition says Nkurunziza’s third term bid undermines the constitution.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, current chairman of the East African Community (EAC) will host the regional leaders' summit, according to his spokesman, Assah Mwambene.

“President Jakaya Kikwete has invited the heads of state of EAC in the capacity as the chair of the East African Community [to] discuss the standoff in Burundi…Let’s remain optimistic that something good will come out of their wisdom,” said Mwambene.

Burundi plans to hold a presidential election on July 15 despite calls by the international community for a postponement, citing the security challenges that have forced over 100,000 to flee the country.

The East African country recently held a legislative vote, which opposition groups boycotted. The election was condemned by the international community for not being free and fair.

EAC critics say Monday’s meeting is unlikely to resolve the Burundi crisis.

They argue that President Nkurunziza’s refusal to heed recommendations from regional leaders as well as calls by the international community to postpone the election has worsened the country’s instability.

Mwambene disagreed.

“The situation getting worse in Burundi actually calls for more meetings than boycotting meetings of this nature,” said Mwambene. “They will sit and discuss and assess the situation including getting an updated version of what is happening on the ground and how has the government of Burundi implemented or rejected the conditions that were set by the heads of state in their first meeting before the follow up meeting a month ago.”

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