In a statement issued on 29 November, the facilitator of the Inter-Burundi Dialogue and former Tanzania President Benjamin William Mkapa said a roadmap for the Burundi Dialogue process was developed and presented to the Mediator President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on 2nd November 2016 following the EAC Summit decision. “The roadmap provides for a series of engagements between December 2016 and June 2017 that will culminate in an Agreement”, said the facilitator.
Mkapa said that he will in due course be visiting Burundi to confer with President Nkurunziza and also consult other significant political players. “This will lay the foundation for a series of both formal and informal engagements with and among the various stakeholders, in and outside Burundi and also with international actors”, he said.
Jérèmie Minani, the spokesperson for the National Council for the restoration of the Arusha Agreement and the state of Law (CNARED), appreciated the roadmap even if nothing will change following the lack of the facilitation willing. “The Burundi president and the international community should have intervened and hurried up to resume the dialogue”, he said.
Minani said Burundi’s president should listen to the international community and engage in inclusive dialogue otherwise serious measures would be imposed on him. “It is clear that the Burundi government doesn’t want to engage in inclusive dialogue but it wants to go forward and declare war. Even if the facilitator will visit Burundi, nothing assures us that things will change”, he says.
The CNARED spokesperson says the hardest task is for the facilitator and the international community to convince President Nkurunziza to engage in dialogue and stop destabilizing the country. “Burundians need to live in peace forever”, he said.
“An inclusive dialogue except plotters”
On behalf of the ruling party, Evariste Ndayishimiye, Secretary General, said the ruling party supports inclusive dialogue including all Burundians. “The international community always evokes inclusive dialogue without mentioning which stakeholders are to be invited”, he said.
He said the National Commission for Inter-Burundi Dialogue (CNDI) invited all people who are not wanted by the law but the international community wants to invite coup-plotters and subvert justice.
“The ruling party will never support it. They want to transform Burundi into Libya or Somalia. No one has advised me what to choose between impunity and justice. The coup-plotters are planning revenge”, he said. Ndayishimiye said the ruling party supports justice because impunity has revived what happened in the past.
However, the facilitator said that the security situation has improved in Burundi. “Since my appeal in May 2016 that parties to the conflict desist from violent acts and give dialogue a chance, there has been a noticeable improvement in the security situation in Burundi. The facilitator will continue to urge all parties to adhere to this non-violent approach to solving the political crisis” he said.
The facilitator has been keenly following the ongoing Internal Dialogue Sessions organized by the National Commission for Inter-Burundi Dialogue (CNDI) and other evolving political and constitutional developments in Burundi.
The facilitator urges the authorities and political actors to safeguard the gains of the EAC led process and government efforts to stabilize Burundi.