Burundi opposition candidate calls for deployment of EA standby force

Monday June 01 2015

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza arrives at a rally of his party CNDD-FDD outside Bujumbura on May 23, 2015. The opposition is calling for deployment of the East African Standby Force to "guarantee safety" during the campaigns. AFP PHOTO | CARL DE SOUZA

Burundi’s main opposition presidential candidate Agathon Rwasa has called on the East African Community (EAC) to deploy a standby force in the country during the campaign period.

This follows an emergency East African Heads of State meeting in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, who urged the Burundi government to delay the elections by at least a month and a half and called for a stop of all violence.

However, the regional leaders stopped short of asking President Pierre Nkurunziza to abandon his bid to run for a third term.

“We are disappointed by the summit for not showing their position on Nkurunziza’s third term but this may be because of his absence, however we call on EAC to deploy a standby force to guarantee our security during the campaigns,” said Mr Rwasa adding that the disarmament of the Imbonerakure militia could be very hard since it is armed by the government.

The Burundian government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba said that the communiqué from the EAC leaders to delay elections was welcomed as it was still within the electoral calendar.

“It will encourage dialogue and create a conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections, we call on all key stakeholders too, to actively engage in the dialogue and stop rioting,” he said.


Two of the top members of the Burundi’s electoral body including the vice chairperson Caritas Ndironkeye fled the country on Saturday.

“Now it is difficult for the commission to make decisions since they don’t meet the quorum however dialogue on the ongoing crisis is much important,” said Mr Rwasa.