Arusha: Deadlocked dialogue resumes

The facilitation office convened the 4th round of the inter-Burundian dialogue from 27 November to 8 December. The policy of the empty chair is no longer very popular.

Facilitator Mkapa calls on stakeholders to put an end to the crisis.

Facilitator Mkapa calls on stakeholders to put an end to the crisis.

On 27 November, the next round of Arusha talks will start to find a way out of the crisis. A session that was long desired from the last date of last February. The facilitation office later promised several appointments that never happened. The dialogue had broken down. Diplomatic sources already speak of the “last session planned in Arusha”.

According to the information that Iwacu receives, at least 120 people have been invited. Parties and political actors, civil societies and religious denominations are invited.

Although the agenda is not yet well known, politicians think they will continue the work “where they left it 9 months ago.”We remember the four themes designed to know political issues, security, the electoral problem as well as socio-economic and humanitarian issues.

The big unknown of the equation right now is the presence of guests. Mediation focuses on an inclusive dialogue requested by the entire international community.

As a reminder, the 3rd session was boycotted by the government, which refused to sit down with “prosecuted” people. If this question has been resolved with this round and that the mediation has banished the persona no grata, the government’s confirmation won’t take long. Nevertheless, several analysts mention the participation of Bujumbura. The mediator in the crisis, Museveni and Tanzanian President Magufuli have recently shown that they support their Burundian counterpart. Dealings were made behind the scenes for Bujumbura to participate in this session.

What about the boycott call by the opposition in exile? Will it be followed? The opposition platform CNARED recently released a statement calling its members to not attend the session. It said the purpose of this session would be to bring the process of talks to Burundi. For the platform, it’s no use participating in a session that will put the dialogue in the hands of Bujumbura. However, several CNARED leaders have been invited and intend to participate.

According to some of them, CNARED was not invited as a “platform”. It cannot claim to refuse the invitation it has not received.


Me François Nyamoya copieMSD party: “Ready to participate in a real dialogue, not a farce”

For the Secretary-General of the party, this last session is inevitably doomed to failure. “Talking about a dialogue session is an excess of language, because in fact there have never been sessions in which they would have discussed face to face on specific topics”. François Nyamoya assures that MSD is ready to participate in a real dialogue, and not a farce where the Burundian protagonists are considered as sheep invited into an ambush arena where the score is already written.

Former Burundi President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya returns home from exileSylvestre Ntibantunganya: “The empty chair does not pay”

” What other option do we have to resolve the Burundian conflict if we refuse the dialogue? asks the former President of the Republic. Only the option of armed fight would be remaining. “I do not know if that’s where these parties are evolving. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya believes that it is important to know how to adopt the strategies that consolidate a position acquired. He advises the invited parties to participate and take advantage of the opportunity to discuss their problems in a concrete way.

“Adopting the policy of empty chair is not at all profitable. The former president asks the mediation office to correctly identify the parties that must absolutely be involved so as to have guarantees to no longer experience again the crisis the country is currently going through.

Léonce Ngendakumana: “we need those EAC Heads of States to support the mediator and give him power to bring again his mediation and reconcile the two conflicting parties.”FRODEBU party: “We don’t have any problem with CNARED

The Vice President of Sahwanya Frodebu says his party is still a member of CNARED even if it does not follow the boycott called by the platform. According to Léonce Ngendakumana, FRODEBU’s basic texts privilege negotiations. Thus, whenever there is a debate on the issues that bind Burundi, the party in its guiding line must be present to contribute. “Since 2015, we have always participated and have never had a problem with CNARED. We know the red line that should not be crossed. ”

Nancy-Ninette-Mutoni-300x269CNDD-FDD party: “Ready to participate as always”

The national secretary in charge of information and communication for this party indicates that the ruling CNDD-FDD received the invitation of the facilitation office. Nancy Ninette Mutoni assures that the party will participate in the 4th session of dialogue convened by the mediation, as it has always done.


CNDD-FDD or the art of moving forward …

Announced as decisive, but without CNARED as stakeholder, the fourth round of inter-Burundian dialogue in Arusha raises questions. Particularly, on the consistency of regional peace mediation without the regional community primarily concerned to bring back one or more protagonists to better provisions. This is the price to pay to move significantly towards a real and lasting exit to the crisis.

A successful political dialogue involves certain conditions, including the good faith of all parties and the recognition of the other as a key player with a voice. However, we are far from this spirit, in this case, far from it!

On the side of the government under the leadership of the party of the Eagle, it is the negation of CNARED as a political opponent that prevails. We are miles away from the famous quote” autrui, c’est mon maître: The other is my master” of the philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas. CNDD-FDD is thus overwhelmed by the “libido dominandi” (desire to dominate), the balance of power between the “key players” opening a boulevard for the fullness of its manifestation.

For the internal opposition and CNARED, the thread of peace talks in Arusha is the implementation of the Arusha Agreement and the respect of the Constitution for the 2020 elections, the opening of political freedoms between today and in the next elections in 2020 and the restoration of fundamental public freedoms, like the rights of assembly, association and demonstration.

The regime of Nkurunziza is not afraid of a UN resolution. The absence of a high-intensity conflict over its 27,834 km² of territory, since the outbreak of the crisis in April 2015, guarantees it a structural division of the United Nations Security Council. And for good reason, the facilitator acting on his behalf has unilaterally canceled a consultation meeting with the CNARED, proposed by his office, on November 18 and 19, 2017.

And thus, with an alignment of planets to the least favorable, the presidential party implement its policy of “songa mbele” (“go ahead”) without caring about what is said around it. To go forward only seems to be its watchword. Next step: a constitutional referendum scheduled for mid-February 2018 at the latest. Like a bulldozer, CNDD-FDD advances…

Written by Agnès Ndirubusa and Guibert Mbonimpa. Translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana