Burundi talks to end in October

Saturday October 13 2018

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa and  Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. NMG

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, the facilitator of the Burundi peace talks, with Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. PHOTO | MOSES HAVYARIMANA | NMG 

By MOSES HAVYARIMANA
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The fifth and last session of the Intra-Burundi dialogue is expected to kick off on October 24, with the focus a road map for a free and fair 2020 general election.

According to a source close to former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa — the facilitator — opposition members have been invited to the talks except for those with arrest warrants against them.

“We only invited those members of CNARED without an arrest warrant,” a source told The EastAfrican.

CNARED is an alliance of opposition members formed after the 2015 political crisis, which saw the majority of opposition members fleeing the country. About 34 members have arrest warrants out on them for allegedly planning the failed coup in 2015.

The 2020 general election, amnesty for political prisoners and lifting of 34 arrest warrants against opposition leaders are expected to dominate the talks.

Mr Mkapa’s team believes they contributed to the restoration of peace and stability in Burundi despite criticism.

“Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta and Tanzania President John Magufuli played a greater role behind the scenes to ensure Burundi stabilises and in President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision not to run in 2020,” a source told The EastAfrican.

President Nkurunziza announced that he would not contest the 2020 general election on June 7.

Following this fifth session, the mediation team is expected to present a report to the East African Community Heads of State Summit in November.

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