Mkapa calls for EAC meeting over Burundi

Saturday August 4 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 

EDMUND KAGIRE
By EDMUND KAGIRE
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The facilitator of peace negotiations in Burundi, former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, has urged East African heads of state to convene a meeting to discuss the progress amid reports that the humanitarian situation there remains precarious.

Mr Mkapa, who was in Rwanda for the African Leadership Forum, said there is positive progress in Burundi especially after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in June that he will not be seeking re-election in 2020.

“My mandate and certainly the mandate of the mediator needs a fresh look and that can only be done by the summit itself and I believe consultations are underway for that to happen, so that we know the way forward,” Mr Mkapa told The EastAfrican.

President Yoweri Museveni is the mediator while the former Tanzanian president is the facilitator of the peace negotiations that started after violence erupted in 2015 following President Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third term.

Close to 800 people were killed in the violence, while more than 300,000 were displaced and fled to neighbouring countries.

Despite the situation seemingly stabilising, the United Nation says the humanitarian situation in Burundi is still dire.

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“A total of 396,509 refugees, half of whom are children, have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, mainly in Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda,” according to a UN agencies report for the first six months of this year.

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