EAC demands Burundi delays presidential poll by two weeks

Monday July 06 2015

East African Community Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera. PHOTO | FILE |

An extraordinary summit of the East Africa Community (EAC) Heads of State has directed Burundi to postpone its elections until July 30 in order to create room for consensus.

During their three-day meeting, which ends Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the summit appointed Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni to mediate the talks between the Burundi factions.

Burundi has been locked in weeks of unrest since April when the ruling CNDD-FDD party endorsed President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term.

The announcement angered the opposition and a section of the citizens who argue that it went against the country’s constitution and the Arusha Peace Accord that ended a 13-year civil strive.

The EAC leaders' communiqué, which was read by the Secretary-General, Dr Richard Sezibera, noted that the summit further agreed that after the elections, the new government would respect the Arusha peace declaration.

President Nkurunziza sent his Foreign minister to the meeting. Rwanda were also represented at the ministerial level, leaving the host Jakaya Kikwete and Museveni as the only presidents in attendance.


Dismissed all calls

The meeting also resolved that the government of Burundi should disarm all militias and that the African Union (AU) should deploy observers to monitor the process.

It was further agreed that whoever wins in the next elections should form a government of national unity that would also take into account special seats in parliament.

The summit requested the AU to consider endorsing those resolutions.

Dr Sezibera said the EAC would also deploy observers to the election.

The summit was a follow-up to the resolutions made during the second extraordinary summit of Heads of State, which was also held in Dar es Salaam.

President Nkurunziza has previously dismissed all calls for the polls delay.