Burundian exiles, opposition to form transitional council

Wednesday July 15 2015

Burundi’s former second vice president, Gervais Rufyikiri, who is behind the push to establish the National Council for the Restoration of the Arusha Accord in Burundi. PHOTO | FILE |

High profile exiles of the ruling CNDD-FDD party intend to form a national transitional council in a new bid to unseat embattled President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Burundi’s former second vice president Gervais Rufyikiri, who last month fled to Belgium, is behind the push to establish the National Council for the Restoration of the Arusha Accord and the Rule of Law in Burundi.

The new group, formed because of Mr Nkurunziza’s “rejection of any form of dialogue”, is also backed by another Belgium exile, Pie Ntavyohanyuma, a former president of the National Assembly.

In a statement seen by The EastAfrican, the conveners of the council said they were prompted to form the group following the president’s intent “to move forward with flawed presidential elections in an atmosphere of violence”.

“All proposals of political compromise in the interest of the common good have been ignored,” the statement read.

“Not only did Mr Nkurunziza and his clique violate Burundi’s fundamental law in regards to Presidential third term, they have also consistently refused to participate in the fundamental exercise of political dialogue.”


Sources in Burundi say the national council has received the backing of General Godefroid Niyombare, who led the failed coup-bid in May 13 and is currently mounting a resistance against the regime in the country’s north.

The conveners of the council have also asked civil society leaders and the opposition and members of parliament to join them in this new push to remove the president from power.

A meeting in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia will be convened soon to iron out the details regarding the formation of the new movement.

“We invite all political forces and all members of civil society of good faith to urgently meet in Addis Ababa, historical seat of the institutions of the African Union, to agree on the establishment and set up modalities of a National Council,” the statement read.

The Council, which aims to provide alternative leadership in the event the president and his regime leave power, has backed Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni’s mediation efforts, but said it is only open to dialogue within the framework of the Arusha Accord and the country’s constitution.

It has asked the Burundian people and the international community to support this new initiative “based on the need for the reinstatement of the rule of law”.

Other high profile figures that have showed support for the new move include Hussein Rajabu, a former powerful chairman of the ruling party.

Also in the council is Alexis Sinduhije, founder of the popular Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) and leader of the opposition party Movement for Solidarity and Development (MSD) that was behind the street protests in the capital Bujumbura.

Pacifique Ninahazwe, a leading civil society leader who also organised the protests, including all CNDD-FDD MP's in exile and former presidents of the country.

Agathon Rwasa, the leading opposition leader, was not present at the meeting but sources in Burundi say he is in support of the council.

“The National Council will play its rightful role as guarantor of legality of Burundi's institutions,” the leaders said in a statement seen by The EastAfrican.